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Mother, daycare worker, share details about hostage ordeal

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Updated: 10/10/2013 11:46 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A mother is breathing a sigh of relief after police said she was held hostage with her child by her ex-boyfriend.

"My life was in his hands," said the woman who only wanted to be identified as Rhonda.

Thursday night, she's shaken but safe. Rhonda said she and her daughter were held hostage in their own home. She said she doesn't have any physical injuries, but mentally, it's an ordeal she'll never be able to erase.

"I was begging him to get out and threatening to call the police again and he took the phone, he always takes the phones so I can't call the police," she said.

Rhonda says her ex, Richard Lee Johnson, has been trying to bust her door down all week, threatening to kill her. On Thursday, she said she wasn't thinking and left it open and he trapped her inside.

"He grabbed the knife and said if I didn't shut up he'd stab me with it and he showed me the gun," Rhonda said.

Her fear escalated when her daughter came home from day care, dropped off by a day care worker.

Action News spoke exclusively with that worker. She said she knew something was wrong when Rhonda called saying she couldn't pick up the 4-year-old. The worker told Action News when she got to the house the door was cracked open. She said someone grabbed the child, pulled her inside, then the worker heard pleas for help.

"He took us both back there in the room holding us hostage and having his hand over my mouth. I'm holding my daughter at the same time," Rhonda said.

That's when the worker called 911. She was told by dispatch not to leave the house. She told Action News as scared as she was, she waited. Rhonda credits her with saving her life.

"He woulda killed me in there," she said.

Police said Johnson took off running and has not been captured. He is considered armed and dangerous and the search for him continued late Thursday.

Rhonda has a friend who said he's an ex-police officer staying with her at her home Thursday night. She is worried that at some point Johnson will be back.
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