Police: Kidnapping victim found in woods by group searching for Christmas tree

SHASTA COUNTY, California – Police say a group of people searching for a Christmas tree in a rural northern California found a kidnap victim who had taken shelter inside a burned out tree.

According to the Redding Police Department, the victim was a 25-year-old female who was partially clothed and suffering from exposure. Authorities have not released her identity.

Police say the woman told investigators that on Nov. 26 she was taken by two of her acquaintances, Johanna Knighten, 33, and Fred Sanderson, 44. The woman said Sanderson believed she had stolen drugs from him.

The victim said she was driven around, assaulted, and held against her will. She said she was then forced to undress and left in a remote location wearing only a pair of shorts.

The woman survived through rain and snow that night until she was rescued the next day.

Knighten was arrested on Nov. 28 and booked on charged of kidnapping, attempted murder, and conspiracy. Sanderson is still at large.

He is described as a white male, 6'2" tall, 250 pounds with short or shaved blond hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Redding Police Department at (530)225-4200. 

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