Sometimes calling 911 isn’t an option, and you have to find another way to get help. That’s what this Florida woman did to escape a hostage situation with her children — she used a Pizza Hut delivery app.
While being held a hostage in her home at knifepoint, Cheryl Treadway – under the pretense of ordering a pizza online – typed a discreet message in the comments section asking for help.
Highlands County Sheriff’s Office investigators stated that at around 3:40 p.m. on Monday, May 4, an online order for a classic pepperoni pizza received by the Pizza Hut in Avon Park. However, under the comments section a message was typed asking for help and to call 911 as the customer was being held hostage.
The Pizza Hut employees were said to have recognized the order as one from a frequent customer and decided to call the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the matter.
“We’ve never seen that before,” said Candy Hamilton, the manager for the Pizza Hut branch. “I’ve been here 28 years and never, never seen nothing like that come through.”
When the deputies arrived at the delivery address, they were greeted at the door by Treadway holding a small child. She told them that her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, had a knife and was keeping her and her three children against their will.
“She comes running toward us, but two kids are still in the house with a person who’s on narcotics and you don’t know how their mindset – with a knife – and we need to get them out of the house,” said Lt. Curtis Ludden, a hostage negotiator from the Sheriff’s Office.
After escorting Treadway away from the house, Ludden tried to convince Nickerson through the closed door to come out peacefully. Then, after initially refusing to open the door, Nickerson gave in 20 minutes later. And Treadway’s other two children were safely removed from the home.
The couple had been arguing throughout the day while Nickerson carried a large knife, according to the arrest report.
But when Treadway attempted to leave the house and pick up her kids from school, things escalated as Nickerson refused to let her go alone and took her phone from her.
When they returned, Treadway was able to persuade Nickerson to let her use her cell phone to order a pizza. And immediately after the order (with the secret message) was made, Nickerson reportedly took back her cell phone.
Nickerson, 26, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, battery, false imprisonment, and obstructing justice.
He’s believed to have possibly been high on meth during the hostage situation.
[Image via WTSP]