72 minutes of Hell: Survivor shares story of abduction, assault by police officer
12/05/2017 2:16 pm PST
Just imagine you're walking to your car in the middle of a busy parking lot. A crazed man drives up, sticks a gun in your face and tells you to get in or you're dead. What would you do? It could happen to any one of us, and it actually did happen to one woman in Ontario, California.
It was 72 minutes a California woman will never forget, and now she's reliving those moments that began in a parking lot with her being abducted at gunpoint as she left her job.
A daring escape caught on tape: a single mom on the run from a rapist. But her nightmare was far from over. Bringing her attacker to justice would be difficult and dangerous. And in a Crime Watch Daily exclusive, an interrogation like no other.
Springtime about seven years ago, Erinn Orcutt was loving her life as a new mom. When she wasn't busy with her son, she was busy working.
Erinn was a cocktail waitress at a restaurant in Ontario, California. One Saturday in April, business was slow. Erinn suddenly had an afternoon to herself when she left work early.
"You get off in the middle of the day, you're excited about having the rest of your evening, you're not thinking bad things are going to happen to you," Erinn tells Crime Watch Daily.
But something really bad was about to happen.
"When I got to my car, I have a habit of clicking my unlock button twice, because it unlocks all the doors," said Erinn.
Just as Erinn opened her doors, she heard: "Get in the car."
At first she thought it was just a co-worker pulling a prank. Then she saw the gun. This was no joke. The stranger had a gun pointed directly at Erinn. She knew yelling for help wouldn't do any good.
"It's very rare for the parking lot to be empty. Unfortunately for me, it was empty," said Erinn.
And if someone did pass by, they likely would not have seen the gun.
"He held it very low to his waist, and he had a friend behind him who was kind of blocking from the aisle direction," said Erinn.
He had an accomplice. Erinn worried if she tried to make a run for it, he'd shoot. So she followed his commands.
"I got in the car, he got in the passenger seat and told me to drive," said Erinn.
The accomplice stayed behind. And now Erinn and her abductor were alone, leaving the mall parking lot on a ride to Hell.
"He didn't tell me where to drive, and since I grew up in the area I know of a few places where cops tended to hang out, so I figured I would try to steer that direction," said Erinn. "I contemplated driving my car off the road or ramming into somebody else, or just putting it in park and running."
Erinn was also begging the strange man to let her go.
"I pleaded with him. 'You can take my car, I'm not worried about it. I won't call the cops, just take my car and let me out,'" said Erinn.
When the man told her to pull over, Erinn drove into a restaurant parking lot where she'd always seen cops hanging out.
"Hopefully somebody's there and maybe that will scare him, the fact that there is a cop right there," said Erinn. "Unfortunately for me there was no cop there."
The gunman ordered her to drive around to the back of the building, but she couldn't.
"There was a storage unit attached to it," said Erinn. "You couldn't get back there without a code. He was very upset, he kept going 'Drive around to the back,' and I said 'There is no back.'"
Surveillance video obtained exclusively by Crime Watch Daily shows Erinn and her abductor pulling into the parking lot.
"I'm parked facing a window into a storage facility and there was a gas station down the street, there's a Denny's behind me," said Erinn. "There's a liquor store right there. I thought 'There's no way, there's no way anything's going to happen.'"
But Erinn was wrong. As soon as she parked, the gunman forced her at gunpoint into the back seat.
"I started crying," said Erinn. "He got in the back seat with me and kind of sat where my car seat was."
Erinn says he then ordered her to take off her clothes. She desperately pleaded with him to let her go. But he made it clear that wasn't going to happen.
"He ended up putting the gun to my head and told me to stop crying," said Erinn. "He actually racked the gun and a bullet popped out and landed in the seat. I knew the gun was fully loaded."
Erinn Orcutt is sharing her story with Crime Watch Daily to show other survivors they are not alone.
"There's a lot of foot traffic that goes on in that area," Erinn Orcutt tells Crime Watch Daily.
Despite the businesses all around, the dark tinted windows made it impossible for anyone to see what was now happening in the back of her SUV.
"He told me to get undressed, and I was crying, shaking uncontrollably," said Erinn.
Erinn's tears quickly dry up when her abductor sticks the gun in her mouth, aggressively demanding she shut up.
"He had me sit on top of his lap and he tried -- tried to penetrate me, but he couldn't do it," said Erinn.
But Erinn says that didn't matter. The abuse continued.
"He had me [----], but he was taking pictures the entire time," said Erinn. "And I looked up and he smiled and he snapped again. And then he told me to 'Smile pretty' and took a picture of me without my clothes on."
Not only was he taking pictures, the violent rapist started texting the lewd photos to the accomplice he left back in the mall parking lot. The two men were soon talking on the phone.
"His friend was like 'Where are you?' He goes 'Oh, you don't see me? I'm right here,' and was playing around," said Erinn. "He was laughing on his phone. I couldn't believe it."
The laughter didn't last. Erinn says in an instant rage took over.
"He would just stare at me with dead eyes and just hit me," said Erinn. "He socked me in the face a few times. He had me get on my stomach. And he tried to rape me from behind, but he really couldn't."
After about an hour the gunman told Erinn to get dressed. Their road trip was about to take an even darker turn.
"He had mentioned that we were going to go to the desert and finish this," said Erinn. "I knew if I didn't get out right then and there, there's no way I would have made it out."
Though wracked with fear, she discreetly noticed his gun had fallen to the floor and was now under the passenger seat. She thought about the child lock on her back door.
"I had child locks on the side of the car that he was on, and the side that I was on was behind the driver's side door, there was no child locks," said Erinn.
Just then her attacker's phone rang again, and this time when he answered, Erinn's survival instincts kicked into full throttle. It was now or never.
"I threw the door open and I ran like the hounds of Hell were on my heels," said Erinn.
Crime Watch Daily obtained exclusive surveillance video from the parking lot showing Erinn's desperate sprint to safety. What you can't hear is her piercing screams for help the entire time.
"I said 'He has a gun, he has a gun, everybody get back inside!'" said Erinn.
Erinn had no idea but the owner of the nearby liquor store had been keeping a suspicious eye on her SUV. He knew there were two people inside. He was about to call police.
"He grabbed me inside and he threw me behind the register, so I just at that point lost it," said Erinn.
Ontario Police Detective Robert Marquez was one of the first on scene. He says he if Erinn hadn't run when she did, she wouldn't be telling her story.
"I don't think he was going to let her go," said Det. Marquez. "He had done too many things in front of too many cameras, and his plan was to take her somewhere and harm her."
Once Erinn made her dangerous escape, the gunman tried to make his own.
"He had grabbed my keys and tried to start my car, but I had a kill switch. So he couldn't have started the car unless he knew where the sensor was," said Erinn.
When he couldn't drive away, he took off on foot, quickly getting lost in all the traffic. His getaway wouldn't last long. Erinn's attacker made one critical mistake.
"He left his gun inside the car," said Det. Marquez.
And that's not all.
"Taped on the bottom of the magazine was his name," said Det. Marquez. "My stomach dropped."
"I think he was surprised that she escaped, and then he went into a panic-type mode," said Ontario Police Det. Robert Marquez.
In his own rush to get away, her attacker left behind plenty of evidence.
"We were able to locate his gun, her clothing, biological fluids and his sunglasses," said Det. Marquez.
And right there taped on the bottom of the gun's magazine was their biggest clue: the suspect's name. But strangely, it was a labeling technique Det. Marquez knew very well.
"Normally, police officers, they will put their name on the bottom of the magazine in case they have to let somebody else use their magazine in a gunfight," said Det. Marquez. "I was shocked."
Marquez's shock was about to turn to outrage. As cops were investigating Erinn Orcutt's abduction, Officer Anthony Orban from the nearby Westminster Police Department was reporting his gun missing or stolen in the Ontario area.
"They kind of put two and two together and they decided 'Hey, this is related,'" said Det. Marquez.
But related how? Detectives knew that either the sick man who kidnapped and raped Erinn had used a cop's gun -- or the demented attacker was a cop himself.
Officer Orban was tracked down to a nearby parking lot where he was helping a friend and fellow officer find his truck.
"Jeffrey Jelinek was a correctional officer for the state of California," said Det. Marquez.
Orban and Jelinek matched the descriptions Erinn had given of her attacker and his accomplice. They even had her keys. Erinn was soon brought over to identify them both.
"There was, I don't know, maybe 10 cop cars with floodlights just lighting him up," said Erinn. "I've never seen anything like that before. They pulled right up, let me I.D. him, and as soon as I did they took me back to the hospital.
"My initial thought was 'Oh my gosh, nobody is ever going to seek justice for this, because he's one of them,'" said Erinn. "I was very fortunate to be wrong."
Officers Orban and Jelinek were immediately taken into custody. Suddenly both claimed they couldn't remember a thing.
In exclusive interrogation video obtained by Crime Watch Daily, Officer Orban claims he drank too many margaritas at lunch, causing him to black out.
"I haven't drank in a very, very, very long time," Orban says on the recording.
But what he did admit to detectives corroborated what Erinn tearfully revealed.
Orban: "I've been on those antidepressants and it just kills your sex drive."
Detective: "Does it cause you to have a hard time [----]?"
Orban: "I usually can't even..."
Detective: "So you have a hard time getting [----]?"
After a short time behind bars, Jeff Jelinek apparently regained some of his memory.
"He told us at the very end of his interrogation, 'You might want to look at the photos,' and I said 'What photos?' And he said 'The photos on my phone,' and I went 'What?'" said Det. Robert Marquez.
On his phone were all the pictures Anthony Orban snapped while forcing Erinn to perform sex acts on him.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," said Marquez. "I just thought, 'This poor girl.' I think they were playing some type of sick game and tried to outdo each other."
Even though his friend caved, Anthony Orban was sticking to his script.
Detective: "We had a chance to talk to Jeff a little bit more. He's not losing his whole career for you."
Orban: "What? I don't remember anything."
Detective: "He didn't remember anything either, but all the sudden now, after sitting in the cell..."
Orban: "I don't remember anything."
Detectives say even when they weren't in the room, Orban kept up the charade.
Orban: "This has gotta be a bad dream. What is going on? What the [----]?"
"He was assigned to sex investigations," said Det. Marquez.
And in yet another shocking twist, the same antidepressant that Orban blamed for his impotence problem, he also blamed for the assault on Erinn.
"He claimed that he had taken Zoloft while he was drinking alcohol," said Det. Marquez.
Anthony Orban pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming the Zoloft left him unconscious during the attack.
"I was pissed. So pissed," said Erinn Orcutt. "So many people are on Zoloft and they're not going to go off and rape somebody and kidnap them at gunpoint. It was an excuse, it was excuse after excuse after excuse, and it was all about him being the victim."
But there was an actual victim: Erinn Orcutt. Though the terror from a rape at gunpoint was over and her attacker behind bars, she was now facing a second frightening ordeal.
"He was making phone calls that were being recorded from the jail, making statements like 'It would be a lot easier if the witness wasn't around,' and I was getting weird phone calls, and I did get followed on the freeway, and we didn't know if it was related or not, but I was terrified," Erinn tells Crime Watch Daily.
The district attorney's office was so worried about possible retaliation that Erinn had to remain in seclusion during the trial.
"They did everything in their power aside from witness protection just to make sure that I was safe," said Erinn.
She was only allowed to attend Orban's trial on the day she testified and on the day the verdicts were handed down.
"When they found him guilty on all counts, and sane, I broke," said Erinn. "I just broke down because at that point I am thinking 'Oh my gosh, there's an end to this now.'"
Jurors rejected Orban's insanity defense, finding him guilty of kidnapping, rape and multiple counts of sexual assault -- eight felony counts in all.
His accomplice Jeff Jelinek had testified against him in court, agreeing to plead no contest in exchange for a lighter sentence.
"Jelinek was eventually sentenced to five years," said Det. Marquez. "After he was released he went back to live with his mom and dad back east."
Two and a half years after she was kidnapped and raped, Erinn Orcutt was going to confront her attacker in court. On sentencing day, a brave Erinn was more than ready.
"I got a phone call, and they told me 'You may not have to even come down today. They found him dead in his cell,'" said Erinn.
Anthony Orban committed suicide by hanging himself.
"I needed that closure," said Erinn. "I was just in tears. I had been right there, willing to forgive him, and once that happened I was finding it very hard to cling to that forgiveness."
In a highly unusual and unprecedented move, the judge still allowed Erinn to read her victim impact statement while Orban's family respectfully remained in court and listened.
"No amount of reasoning can justify the horrors that I was forced to endure that day and those who try should be ashamed of themselves," Erinn said. "I am disappointed that a person in your position would have behaved in such a way and that you tried to get away with it instead of owning up to your actions like a real man. But then a real man would never have kidnapped, raped, beaten and terrorized a woman.
"I choose to live my life and take back any power your actions may have had over me. To do so I have to do something I have struggled with and never thought I would be able to do. I forgive you."
"You can't move on without doing so," said Erinn.
Erinn Orcutt has moved on, but it hasn't been easy. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Erinn has suffered from panic attacks and depression. And yet this strong survivor refuses to break.
"It was either, 'OK, get back up and figure your life out, or you're going to cling to it as a crutch and be that person that's just a victim forever.' And I wasn't about to be a victim," said Erinn.
If he had not taken his own life, Anthony Orban would have spent the rest of it behind bars. The judge in the case revealed she was planning to sentence him to 82 years to life in prison, followed by a 95-year sentence.