Edith Rosenkranz testified yesterday that her release by kidnapers after 48 hours in captivity in July was "like a scene I've never seen in a movie" as armed FBI agents and District of Columbia police rushed to her aid and, a few blocks away, arrested two of her abductors.
"There were many people running, a lot of guns," said Rosenkranz, who was freed on the Mall on July 21 after being held captive in Norfolk. "I didn't know if they were the good ones or the bad ones."
Rosenkranz, 60, whose wealthy husband paid a $1 million cash ransom for her release, gave her account in the fifth day of the trial in U.S. District Court here of two men charged with her kidnaping from the Sheraton Washington Hotel on July 19.
Rosenkranz testified she was so frightened by her kidnaping, during much of which she said she was blindfolded and handcuffed, that she lied at first about her identity to authorities who ran to her side. She was left standing near the Washington Monument by her abductors, she testified.
"A minute later, a young person, a girl, came running to me. She said, 'You're Mrs. Rosenkranz!' " she testified. "I said no, I'm not. I thought I'd fallen into the hands of more people I did not know. I was very much afraid.
"She said, 'You're safe. I'm from the FBI.' But I did not believe her. Another man said I was safe, that he was FBI, but I didn't believe it. There were cars, sirens.
"The man said they had called an ambulance. 'Ambulance' was maybe the magic word, because I thought these must be the good people. I said, 'Yes, I am Mrs. Rosenkranz.' "
The defendants, Glenn I. Wright, 42, and Dennis Moss, 26, both of Houston, were arrested nearby in a black van containing the ransom money and a loaded .38-caliber revolver.
Prosecution witnesses said Rosenkranz was held by Moss in the van and later in a Tidewater motel before being driven back here for her release.
Court papers made public yesterday said that the van was under FBI surveillance from the time that Moss allegedly picked up the ransom in a parking lot at Alexandria Hospital until he stopped to release Rosenkranz on the Mall.
The money was recovered.
The FBI also monitored 10 telephone contacts between the alleged kidnapers and Rosenkranz's husband, George, at his room at the Sheraton, according to prosecution testimony.
Intense police efforts to solve the kidnaping involved about 150 officers and FBI agents.
Edith Rosenkranz testified that she was threatened with death several times by Moss.
"I thought that if I was going to be killed, I would die with the knowledge that I had a wonderful family, that I loved them and they loved me," she testified tearfully.
According to prosecution testimony, Wright, a Houston entrepreneur, masterminded the abduction because he was having severe financial problems.
Prosecutors completed their case at midafternoon.
With the jury out of the courtroom, lawyers for Wright and Moss told District Judge Oliver Gasch that defense testimony will focus on the death last year of a man identified as a homosexual lover of Wright's.
The man, Tony B. Ivey, 23, was found shot to death in the bathroom of Wright's apartment. Houston police have said the homicide is unsolved.
Wright's lawyer, William Garber, said he will contend that Wright was insane at the time of the kidnaping, citing Ivey's death, as well as financial difficulties, as a major source of emotional stress and pressure on Wright.
Thomas Abbenante, Moss' attorney, told Gasch yesterday that Moss will testify next week that he took part in the kidnaping because he feared Wright.
Abbenante said Wright "made several statements leading my client to believe that Wright committed that homicide, or was involved in it . . . and that he could get away with harming Moss the same way he got away with the other murder."