Christmas Tree Hunters Discover Kidnap Victim East of Redding

Fred Sanderson

Fred Sanderson

Press release from the Redding Police Department:

On Monday, November 27th, 2017, a partially clothed female was located by several people who were looking for a Christmas Tree, in a rural wooded area east of Eskimo Hill near Hat Creek in Shasta County. The victim a 25 year old female Redding resident was suffering from exposure. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call and began an investigation. The Victim was transported and admitted to a Redding area hospital, her identity is being withheld at this time.

The Victim told Investigators she was forcibly taken from the area of Mistletoe Lane and Victor Avenue in Redding during the afternoon of November 26th, 2017. The Victim was taken by known acquaintances, Johanna Knighten, 33 years old and Fred Sanderson, 44 years of both of Redding. The Victim stated Knighten drove her in a white van belonging to Knighten and she was physically assaulted and held against her will by Sanderson. The Victim told Investigators the suspects believed she had stolen narcotics from Sanderson. Upon arrival at the remote location, approximately 6 miles from highway 44, the victim was forced to undress and left wearing only a pair of shorts.

The victim did not know where she was, had no means of communication, and could find no way of summoning help. The victim was exposed to extremely cold temperatures, rain and snow. The victim sought shelter in a burned out tree, drank water from a mud puddle, and survived through the night into the next day until she was finally rescued.

On Tuesday, November 28th, 2017, Johanna Knighten was located operating the suspect vehicle in the downtown Redding area. Knighten was arrested without incident, interviewed and booked into the Shasta County Jail on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and conspiracy.

Fred Sanderson, is still outstanding and is being sought by law enforcement. He is described as a white male, 6’2” tall, 250 pounds with short or shaved blond hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information regarding this crime or the location of Sanderson, is asked to contact the Redding Police Department at (530)225-4200.



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