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Frustrated Lover Could Face Life in Prison

WICHITA (CN) - A Texas man is charged with kidnapping his ex-girlfriend with a BB gun, handcuffing her and driving across three states to reach a Kansas bed and breakfast, where he hoped to persuade her to marry him.

Joseph Andrew DeRusse, 24, of Austin, was charged with kidnapping in a Feb. 3 federal indictment .

Police arrested DeRusse, who is unemployed and has no stable residence, on Jan. 23 near Newton, Kan., after the woman's father alerted Texas police that his 24-year-old daughter and her car were missing, according to a Jan. 6 federal criminal complaint, with an accompanying affidavit from an FBI agent.

The father logged into his daughter's GPS program and saw that her car had traveled though Texas and Oklahoma and was in Kansas.

DeRusse and the woman, identified as H.M.M. in the affidavit, were romantically involved for two months but "cooled things down" in November 2014 and hadn't seen one another since the day after Christmas, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said that on Jan. 22, DeRusse Texted H.M.M. on a "pay-as-you-go" cell phone, pretending to be her friend "Kaitlin," urging H.M.M. to meet for a "surprise." After H.M.M. grew wary and canceled the meeting, DeRusse showed up at an Austin apartment complex where she was visiting her sister, and allegedly forced her into her car at gunpoint with a BB gun modified to look like a real handgun.

"The newer BB guns look realistic anyway," Newton police Lt. Scott Powell told Courthouse News Tuesday. DeRusse had blacked out the orange lines on the BB gun to make the gun look like a black, semiautomatic pistol, Powell said.

"The victim certainly thought it was real," the lieutenant said.

According to the affidavit, DeRusse handcuffed H.M.M., placed a "sleep mask" over her eyes and adorned her with a "neck pillow" so she would appear to be a napping passenger.

Newton Police Sgt. Jason Thompson stopped DeRusse when he spotted the Nissan Sentra near Newton, about 120 miles from Narka, near the Kansas-Nebraska border, where DeRusse had prepaid for three weeks stay at a bed and breakfast, according to the affidavit.

DeRusse allegedly told the officer that the car belonged to his "fiancée," who was in the vehicle. Initially, H.M.M. told Thompson that she was with DeRusse willingly but then spoke with the officer privately and told him that DeRusse had "kidnapped her with a gun, handcuffed her, blindfolded her, and was driving her to a "secluded location somewhere in Kansas," according to the affidavit.

After driving nearly 400 miles, DeRusse removed the sleep mask and handcuffs during a stop in Oklahoma City. H.M.M. considered trying to escape but "feared for her life," the affidavit states.

The FBI agent wrote that DeRusse eventually admitted to Thompson that he had forced H.M.M. into the car with a gun and handcuffed and blindfolded her. He allegedly told another officer that when Thompson pulled him over, he thought about brandishing the gun so that Thompson would shoot him because he "did not want to live without H.M.M."

DeRusse said he was taking the woman to the bed and breakfast because he believed that "after spending three weeks together, he would convince her to marry him," according to the affidavit.

DeRusse had even bought an engagement ring, which police found in the car.

DeRusse is in custody pending trial. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

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