Sobbing Girl Recalls 2-Year Kidnap Ordeal

United Press International

A New Jersey teen-ager kidnaped two years ago while walking to school sobbed uncontrollably while describing her ordeal today and then bolted from an FBI news conference on the arms of two sisters.

Cheryl Cramer, 16, was rescued Monday and her alleged abductor, John Stanley Sykora, 32, taken into custody at a Miami Beach apartment building where they had been living.

The shy, timid girl gave quiet, mostly one-word answers at the news conference, which ended abruptly when she broke down in sobs and left the room, clutching her sisters.

Cramer said she did not call authorities or try to escape because “I was scared. I was afraid.”


Asked how it felt to be free, she softly replied, “Great.”

“I never gave up hope,” said Kathy Cramer, one of Cheryl’s six sisters and her legal guardian since their parents died. “I knew we’d be reunited someday.”

“We felt immense relief. I was terrified for her,” said the other sister, Cindy Sadley.

Asked how she spent the two years, Cheryl replied, “I worked,” but would not elaborate.

Worked at Burger King

The FBI said she had worked for the last month at a Miami Beach Burger King restaurant and was still wearing her uniform when she was rescued. Sykora is believed to have worked at the same restaurant, FBI spokesman Joe DelCampo said.

“She was not physically in chains, but he kept close enough watch on her that she was never really alone,” DelCampo said. “He did indicate that if she escaped he would pursue her.”

Cramer said she did not see her picture when it appeared three times on a network television show about missing children, and was unaware anyone was looking for her.


Cheryl, then 14, was abducted April 6, 1983, while walking with a younger sister to a Trenton high school where she was a freshman. Her abductor chased her on foot for about half a mile, caught her and forcibly threw her into a car.

The Miami FBI had received information from the Trenton office that the two might be in Miami Beach. They were spotted Monday entering the apartment house, and agents arrested Sykora.

DelCampo described the motive for the kidnaping as physical attraction and said Sykora had been acquainted with the Cramer family for several years.