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Kidnapped US Girl Escapes Captors - 2002-07-24


A seven-year old girl who was abducted Monday in the U.S. city of Philadelphia has escaped her captors after gnawing through the duct tape that bound her.

Young Erica Pratt is being treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia after a harrowing escape.

Authorities say the child was seized, taken to a house, bound with duct tape and locked in the basement.

Police Lieutenant Michael Chitwood described the conditions inside the house as unfit for an animal.

After several hours of gnawing at the tape with her teeth, she made her way up the stairs. Media reports say she then freed herself through a panel in the door and subsequently called for help.

Police speculate that the kidnappers may have planned to extort money from the little girl's family. Rumors had been floating in the neighborhood that the household had just received a sizable insurance payment for the murder of Erica's uncle.

Authorities are treating two men as suspects.

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