Search for suspected kidnapper, rapist

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A search for a Canton Township man accused of kidnapping, assaulting and raping his estranged girlfriend near Washington County Airport in South Franklin Township Tuesday afternoon came up empty for state police after a search on the ground and in the air.


The car reportedly driven by John Edward Gallo, 40, whose last known address is 1520 Jefferson Ave., was found in a secluded area near the airport, prompting the search, said state police Lt. Christopher Neal, crime section supervisor for Troop B.


“We had a large contingent of troopers diligently searching for him,” Neal said. “We suspected he was in the woods and thoroughly searched the area.”


Gallo reported went to a room at Pugh’s Motel on West Chestnut Street in Canton late Sunday where his former girlfriend had been staying. She allowed him to enter her room, but then asked him to leave and return in about 20 minutes.


When he returned, Gallo discovered that she had locked the door. After he threatened to break into the room, she reluctantly allowed him inside. He reportedly put her in a choke hold and took her out to his vehicle.


As they drove west on Route 40 (West Chestnut), he told her they were both going to die, police said. He took her to what he claimed was an old mine shaft. After telling her that he would throw her down the shaft and then shoot himself, Gallo allegedly raped her.


They then returned to her room where he allegedly again sexually assaulted her, police said. While he was sleeping Monday morning, the 33-year-old woman tried calling for help but he found her. Gallo allegedly again forced her into his car. She was able to jump out of the car as he turned onto the ramp to Interstate 70 eastbound at West Chestnut Street. Gallo reportedly tried to force her back into his car, but witnesses came to her aid, so he fled. North Franklin Township police Officer Lyndsi Kopko, who was responding to assist on the initial call, was flagged down by the passersby to assist the victim.


Police obtained a warrant for Gallo’s arrest on charges including kidnapping, aggravated assault and rape. Anyone with information on Gallo’s whereabouts is asked to call state police at 724-223-5200.


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