The woman’s hands were tied to the steering wheel of her car on Interstate 17, Prescott police said. She was alone when Arizona officers found her just before noon Thursday.
Sharalyn Stura, 57, told officers she’d been kidnapped from her Prescott home by a person she didn’t know and forced to drive to an area near Montezuma’s Well — part of Montezuma Castle National Monument — police said.
She said she managed to escape her captor and flee in the vehicle. She drove along the highway until a passerby stopped and helped her, according to police.
Police requested a welfare check after finding Stura. That’s when officers found a body inside the residence, officers said.
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Crews started searching for an armed kidnapper on the loose. Stura said the suspect had run away near the area where she was allegedly forced to drive to, police said. But as officers continued to gather evidence at the home and talk to Stura about her reported kidnapping, the details weren’t adding up, the police department said.
Police said there was conflicting information in Stura’s account of the kidnapping. They later concluded that the story about Stura being taken by an armed kidnapper was a lie, officers said.
The investigation also led them to suspect Stura of playing a role in the death of Jay Michael Freeman, 66, whose body was found shot to death in the home, police said. Stura and Freeman, who owned the residence, were in a relationship, the Daily Courier reported.
Stura admitted to being involved in Freeman’s death, police allege. She was arrested on a first-degree murder charge. There are no other suspects in the case, police said.