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New Details Emerge About Baltimore Hostage StandoffAired March 23, 2000 - 1:09 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: New details have emerged about how hostages escaped a violent kidnapper in Baltimore late Tuesday night. A man, wanted by police for killing four people, held a couple and a 12-year-old boy hostage for four long, difficult days.
CNN's Kathleen Koch tells us how it ended.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 97 hours of hostage-taking marked by threats and gunfire, Joseph Palczynski finally left this working-class Baltimore suburb in a body bag.
When hostages, Lynn Whitehead and her boyfriend, Andy McCord, escaped through a front window of their row house, police say tactical teams had to sweep in quickly to protect McCord's 12-year-old son from his captor, who was asleep with a .357 magnum on his lap.
ANDY MCCORD, RELEASED HOSTAGE: I snuck into the bedroom. I hurried up and hopped out, ran to the SWAT team right away and said: Hurry up and get down there, my son's on the floor. He's laid on the couch with his head toward the window; he's still snoring. And that's when they moved in right away and they got my son out of there.
KOCH: Officials say, hours before the escape, Whitehead tried to drug 31-year-old Palczynski with an anti-anxiety medication that can cause drowsiness.
CHIEF TERRENCE SHERIDAN, BALTIMORE COUNTY POLICE: She said she put two Xanax tablets crushed up in the ice tea which he drank.
KOCH: Authorities tried to downplay speculation about why the two adults left the 12-year-old behind asleep on the kitchen floor.
DR. JAMES MCGEE, SHEPPARD PRATT HOSPITAL: I would strongly urge everyone to avoid passing judgment. We refer to these as hostage victims; they were also torture victims. They were being tortured, relentlessly tortured.
KOCH: Negotiators described hearing the screaming hostages plead for their lives. They say the suspect called himself Colonel Palczynski, even threatening negotiators and shooting wildly on Sunday and Monday. CAPT. DON ROBY, BALTIMORE COUNTY POLICE: I think he was trying to show that -- or in his mind -- he was in charge and that we didn't -- we had no authority with him.
KOCH: Throughout, Palczynski angrily insisted on talking to his 22-year-old former girlfriend, Tracy Whitehead, who was cooperating with authorities.
MCGEE: She was in complete agreement with our hypothesis, that if she got on the phone, she would end up witnessing her mother's death. She had no intention of getting on the telephone.
KOCH (on camera): Authorities insist they had hoped to take Palczynski alive. But police say he got what he wanted: suicide by cop.
Kathleen Koch, for CNN, Dundalk, Maryland.
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