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Teen tells of six days of drugged torment

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Three have been charged in his alleged abduction and assault in July.

The 18-year-old awoke in a pasture after six days of alleged torture.

Vomiting, disoriented, bloodied and insect-bitten, he tried to make sense of his surroundings.

He had spent the night wrapped in a blanket in the field, next to a gravel road where a white Toyota was parked -- the car was his own, but he did not recognize it. In the distance lay an expressway, thick with traffic.

Dehydrated and nearly naked, the Broken Arrow teenager had no clue where he was, but he knew he needed help.

His clearest memory of what happened before he was dumped in the field was waking up in a hotel bathroom, bound, gagged and half-naked.

Staggering to the highway between exhausted collapses, he threw the blanket over a barbed-wire fence, climbed over and made it to the edge of the road.

"It was consistent traffic the entire time," he said. "There was even times I would get on my knees and hold my hands up . . . just so people would know that I was alive and notice me."

Stranger than fiction: A police car eventually stopped and picked up the teenager -- whose name is not being used in this story -- about 8 a.m. July 11, according to Texas City, Texas, police.

"He thought I was a heroin addict. He just kept saying, 'Where are the drugs at?' " the teen said. "And I was like, 'All I want is water.' "

Texas City Police Sgt. Brian Goetschius said the teen had visible bruises and cuts but that dehydration was his biggest problem.

Doctors at the Mainland Medical Center in Texas City, just miles from where the teen was found, told him that if he had been in the field 45 minutes longer, he would have died.

Gordon Todd Skinner, Krystle Ann Cole Skinner and William Ernest Hauck were charged Thursday with kidnapping the teen from Tulsa's Doubletree Hotel Downtown during the Independence Day weekend.

Tulsa police allege that Gordon Skinner drugged and tortured the teen over a six-day period.

The Skinners and Hauck took the victim from the Doubletree about July 7 to a hotel in the Houston area, where he was tortured further, police allege.

Gordon Skinner was charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Hauck and Krystle Skinner were charged with kidnapping and conspiracy.

"I think people make the mistake of saying they've seen it all," said Tulsa Police Cpl. Gene Watkins. "This is definitely a new one."

High priest of psychedelia: Gordon Skinner, who grew up in Tulsa, is a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant who intended to set up a large LSD lab in the former Atlas-E ballistic missile silo that he once owned near Wamego, Kan.

Federal agents raided the lab in November 2000, and Skinner, now 39, testified for the government against two chemists, William Pickard and Clyde Apperson, who were found guilty of drug offenses in March, court records show.

The Broken Arrow teen said he was caught up in the lifestyle of drugs and money that Skinner flaunted.

The teen's former girlfriend, University of Tulsa student Krystle Skinner, is Gordon Skinner's wife. She helped ensnare the teen, police allege.

An affidavit written by Watkins says Hauck told police that Skinner was angry the teen had slept with his wife and Skinner wanted to get even.

Skinner is jailed in Nevada, and DEA officials would not comment.

An e-mail sent to Krystle Skinner's University of Tulsa address was not answered. Police are unsure where she is.

Skinner considers himself a high priest of psychedelic drugs, Watkins alleges, and the torture began after the teen willingly took a communion wafer laced with chemicals extracted from psychedelic mushrooms.

The next thing the teen knew, he awoke on the bathroom floor of a Tulsa hotel suite.

Krystle Skinner tried to convince him that he had gone crazy and had to be restrained when he took the drugs, he said.

A credibility problem: Given his drug history and Skinner's marriage to his former girlfriend, the teen said he understands the skepticism he might face.

He used to be a drug dealer, selling drugs to his high-school friends, he admitted. In May, he spent three days in a Lebanon, Mo., jail for felony drug possession.

He also admits smoking marijuana regularly for the last three years.

"One of the policemen made a comment to my dad that it was going to be harder to prosecute because I agreed to taking the psychedelic on that day," he said.

But Watkins said he has checked the teen's story. Witnesses, medical records and the Texas City police incident report support the teen's account.

"Did he take the drugs voluntarily? Yes, he did. But did he take the drugs to be assaulted in the groin area, to be tied up, to have someone shave (his) whole body, leave (him) for dead, trying to fry (his) brains?" Watkins asked. "No one deserves to have that happen to them."

The alleged ringleader: Gordon Skinner is currently jailed in Reno, Nev., on a federal drug-trafficking charge.

He was in Nevada over the Labor Day weekend to attend the Burning Man festival, Watkins said.

The counter-culture gala, fueled by drugs, art, sex and music, culminates in the burning of a 40-foot-tall wooden man.

Watkins said in an interview that Skinner used Hauck, an Oklahoma City-based truck driver, and Krystle Skinner to do his dirty work. Krystle Skinner followed Hauck and picked him up from the field after he dumped the teen, Watkins said.

To cover up his disappearance, the teen said, they planned to tell his friends he went crazy after he found out that the two had married, so he fled in a drug binge to Galveston, Texas.

Gordon Skinner checked into the Doubletree on July 1, billing records show, and checked out July 7. Watkins said Skinner followed his wife and Hauck to Texas, staying in Houston, where the torture continued.

The teen's medical records paint a harrowing picture.

Pinpoint needle marks dotted his arms and genitalia; ligature marks discolored his wrist; and bruises covered his body.

The teen said he doesn't know what chemicals may have been injected into him but that he remembers Skinner saying he had a drug that would erase his memory.

Hauck saw Skinner wrap a phone cord around the teen's penis and pull on it until he heard a pop, an affidavit filed by Watkins states.

Hauck told Watkins that he also saw Skinner grab the teen by the scrotum and pull him off a bed onto the floor, the corporal told the Tulsa World. Then Skinner allegedly bragged that the teen was so "doped up" that he could not feel any pain from the assault, Watkins said.

The Skinners' attempts to discredit the teen went even further, Watkins alleges.

The affidavit states the detective believes that the teen was sexually assaulted so police would think he was gay and was injected with chemicals so authorities would refuse to believe him.

Sexual assault charges have not been filed.

Looking over his shoulder: The teen has found a job and plans to enroll in college in December.

He also claims to have turned his back on drugs.

He is in hiding but said he fears that Gordon and Krystle Skinner might know how to find him to do him further harm.

The teen says he lost about 25 pounds during his ordeal and was confined to a wheelchair after his hospitalization. Only recently has he regained the ability to eat solid foods.

As Hauck drove him to Texas City while Krystle Skinner followed, the teen recalled, he just wanted to rest and wanted the pain to stop.

He said he'll never forget the peace he felt when the car stopped that night next to a pasture. He said Hauck laid him in soft grass under the night sky. The sensation of the grass against his skin was comforting.

"I was really happy that I could finally go to sleep," he said.

Matt Elliott 581-8366


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