Suspected kidnapper shot by his captive, police say

Stephen Cronk was found dead in his truck after allegedly kidnapping and sexually assualting a woman.

Story highlights

  • The woman managed to get control of the suspect's gun and shot him, police say
  • The man's body was discovered Friday in Mississippi
  • He allegedly forced the 18-year-old to perform sex acts on him
A man suspected of kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman was shot by his captive, police in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, said Friday after the man's body was discovered in neighboring Mississippi.
The incident began Wednesday afternoon when police say suspect Stephen Cronk, 58, asked the woman to meet at a Mount Juliet gas station after she got off work. The man told her he was moving away and wanted to meet with the woman, a prior acquaintance, one last time, police said. The woman agreed to the meeting.
The woman willingly got into Cronk's truck before he pulled out a handgun, according to police. Cronk proceeded to restrain the woman to the seat using duct tape, police said, then drove to a hotel in Aberdeen, Mississippi, about 250 miles away.
At the hotel, the woman was forced to perform sexual acts on Cronk, according to police. At one point, the woman asked Cronk to get her a drink. While he was doing so, she managed to get control of the gun and shot him in the stomach, according to Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Randle.
After the shooting, the woman locked herself in the bathroom until she heard Cronk leave the hotel, Randle said.
Cronk's body was discovered Friday in his 2004 Nissan pickup by a gas station clerk at a local truck stop about 15 miles from the hotel. He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.
The woman has been returned to her family in Gallatin, Tennessee, Mount Juliet police said.