Story of Kidnapped Missionary Becomes New Film - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

Story of Kidnapped Missionary Becomes New Film

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RICHMOND (WRIC) - An American kidnapped and held hostage in Russia speaks exclusively with 8News as a movie about his ordeal opens in Richmond.

The kidnapping made headlines around the world back in 1998. President Clinton even got involved and miraculously the young American missionary and his colleague survived.

A true story of two young Americans kidnapped and held hostage in Russia for five days.

One of the men behind the real life drama, Travis Tuttle, was 20 at the time, serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"We were expecting to die," he says. "We knocked on the door and he immediately opened it, which was one of the many red flags.. how quickly he opened the door."

The hostage takers had met Tuttle and his companion on the street and invited them over. When they walked inside the apartment, they were attacked.

"They jumped us from behind and they started beating us with baseball bats and they took us into the other room immediately threw us down on the ground and handcuffs us and hogtied us."

"They made a ransom note. They took our pictures. They photocopied our passports. They put it all into a bag and they went and put it on one of the more prominent people in the city and put it on his doorstep."

The kidnappers demanded $300,000 from Tuttle's church as his family in America waited to hear if he was dead or alive.

Filmmaker Garrett Batty followed Tuttle's story and now, 16 years later, is bringing it to movie theaters in a film called "The Saratov Approach."

"Our goal wasn't to be preachy," he says. "We wanted to play in movie theaters and not churches."

The action packed movie is getting positive reviews and both Batty and Tuttle say regardless of whether you're Christian or not, the compelling story will have you on the end of your seat.

The movie premieres Friday at the Virginia Center Commons Regal Cinemas in Glen Allen.

Tuttle will be there Saturday night at 7 p.m. For a question and answer session.

Although freed, both Tuttle and his companion to this day have permanent nerve damage in their hands from being held in handcuffs for so long.

 

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