Imperial, Neb. Lincoln Police and the Nebraska State Patrol said Julie Hanes, the woman abducted by her estranged husband Saturday afternoon, is alive and safe Sunday evening.
Officials in Imperial told 10/11 News, Dwayne Lawrence, Hanes' estranged husband, was discovered dead in a field from an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound Sunday night.
Monday evening the Hanes' family released a statement through the Imperial Police Department about Julie coming home safe, it reads:
"We want to thank the Nebraska State Patrol, the FBI, Lincoln Police Department and investigators, Imperial Police Department, Chase County Sheriff’s Department along with the surrounding county departments, Chief of Police Rob Browning, Sheriff Kevin Mueller, Imperial Fire Department and EMS members, Dr. Richman, Chase County Hospital, and the countless community members, churches, family and friends across the state of Nebraska, and across the nation, for your sustained efforts to find Julie Hanes. We are grateful and humbled by the amount of love and support our entire family received."
They added, "Through the help of these agencies and individuals, we safely received Julie back from this ordeal. While she has physically recovered from the weekend, full recovery will be ongoing with the encouragement of those who surround her. We thank you in advance for your support and understanding of her need for privacy at this time. Again, we thank you for you thoughts and prayers."
10/11 News Reporter Meghan Bragg said early Sunday night, police suddenly converged on a field about two miles northwest of Imperial.
The Nebraska State Patrol in conjunction with the Imperial Police Department and Chase County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed they located 38-year-old Julie Hanes. Authorities say she was found alive in rural Chase County and was placed in the protective custody.
Lincoln Police say it all started around noon Saturday. They say Lawrence walked into Audacious Hair Salon on 27th and O Street in Lincoln and kidnapped his soon to be ex-wife, Julie Hanes at gunpoint.
At that time, Lawrence was reportedly dressed in all black clothing and carried a black backpack filled with zip ties.
"Super shocking that someone can do that during the middle of the day like this," Quyen Carlson, of the nearby business Be Qute Boutique, said.
At about 4:30 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 25, an Imperial officer on foot patrol, spotted a car matching the description of the vehicle involved in the kidnapping driving down a street in the west part of Imperial. The car took off and a search for the vehicle began.
Around 8:30 a.m., a farmer in the area called the Imperial Police Department to report he had located a 1998 Gold Chrysler abandoned on a driveway at the end of an irrigated farm field. The car was identified as the vehicle driven by the suspect, Dwayne Lawrence. A perimeter was set up and a search began.
An NSP Helicopter, along with K-9 units and officers from the Nebraska State Patrol, Imperial Police Department and Chase County Sheriff’s Office searched an eight-mile area approximately two miles west of Imperial.
Just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Julie Hanes walked out of a cornfield onto 331 Avenue, approximately two ½ miles northwest of Imperial in rural Chase County. Hanes, who was uninjured, was taken to the Chase County Community Hospital in Imperial for observation and treatment for dehydration.
Just before 9 p.m., the body of Lawrence was located by authorities approximately 130 yards into the same cornfield.
Authorities at the scene say Lawrence suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Court records show that Hanes filed for divorce July 30, which was about two weeks after she got a protection order against Lawrence. She told a judge that Lawrence had threatened her several times, and he faces several charges related to a July 8 incident.
Hanes told police that Lawrence fired a gunshot into their bedroom wall and threatened to kill himself in front of her in the hope that she would take her own life.
Hanes said in order to get him to lower the gun that night, she told her husband she would stay with him. They have been married since 2001.
Lawrence has already been charged with false imprisonment, making threats and using a weapon to commit crimes. When he posted $25,000 bond on July 16, he was ordered to stay away from Hanes and any firearms.