Alisa Mathewson: How Was She Kidnapped? Who Kidnapped Her?

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CBS News’ ’48 Hours: Alisa Mathewson’s Night Terrors’ chronicles how Alisa Mathewson was abducted from her own home with the coerced support of her own children in Valrico, Florida, in March 2017. After a 55-hour ordeal of horror, the authorities caught the perpetrator with tips from the general public. 

How Was Alisa Mathewson Kidnapped?

Alisa Mathewson Summers married her high school sweetheart, Trevor Steven Summers, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2001. The couple’s marriage lasted for 16 years, and they gave birth to five children — Arden Summers, Landen, Bryn, Grady, and Cooper — aged between 3 to 14 in March 2017. The eldest child, Arden, reminisced how she loved her father and “had a great relationship with him.” She recalled, “We would go out on little dates together, go out for dinners, just him and I, or grocery shopping.”

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It was this father-daughter bonding Trevor would manipulate to commit one of the most heinous crimes in the state’s history. According to reports, Trevor’s life fell apart in September 2016 when he pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in federal court in Pennsylvania. A 2008 federal lawsuit against Trevor accused him of having more than 20 civil suits filed against him, serving probation for minor charges such as passing bad checks and filing for bankruptcy three times from 2004 to 2006.

Court records show he lost a $4 million judgment in 2011. According to his attorney, Trevor pleaded guilty, alongside his partner and co-defendant, Jonathan Snyder, to a wire fraud and conspiracy scheme on September 16, 2016. Federal prosecutors alleged the two falsely claimed to hold patents on straws that could be printed with safe ink. They raised $1 million in funding with the promise to publish those straws, but the prosecution asserted it was all a scam to defraud investors out of at least $345,000.

According to court records, Alisa sought to file a domestic violence injunction against Trevor on October 31, which was dismissed a week later, on November 10. She filed for divorce in Florida in December 2016 and had shared custody of their five children. However, she filed another petition for a protective order on February 21, 2017. Alisa claimed she had gone to Trevor’s house to discuss a divorce settlement when he threatened to bind her with duct tape and rope and held her against her will for several hours at knifepoint.

Following her desperate pleas, Trevor freed Alisa from captivity. She immediately called 911, waiting for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s deputies at a gas station. The authorities affirmed receiving the call, but a spokesperson claimed no arrests were made in the ongoing investigation due to conflicting statements of the estranged couple. Trevor filed for a protective order against his former wife the following day, accusing her of fabricating the previous day’s allegations and also angrily pushing their son, Landen, then 12, into a corner.

Court records show the judge granted both injunctions but put a hold on the court proceedings until Trevor, facing up to four years in prison, was sentenced in federal court. Amidst this messy and surcharged situation, he sought the help of his eldest daughter, Arden, then 14, to help him get inside his estranged wife’s home in Valrico, Florida. Trevor promised the hopeful child he would talk with her mother and sort things out. Arden said, “I was hoping that you know, my family would be back together and healthy and fixed.”

Trevor Masterminds the Kidnapping

According to the show, Trevor sent Arden, Landen, 7-year-old Bryn, and 5-year-old Grady to Alisa’s home. On her father’s orders, Arden opened a window at around 1 am on March 11, 2017, for Trevor to enter the house while she and Landen left through the same and waited in the car. She believed her parents would sort their issues out, and all of them would drive back to their apartment, where 3-year-old Cooper was fast asleep alone. Little did she know about the heinous plan Trevor had been plotting all along.

Once he entered the house, Trevor tied Alisa with different objects around the house, including Christmas lights and a vacuum cord, and put a sock in her mouth to stop her from screaming. He called Arden around 5:00 am and asked her to collect her young siblings and drive them back home, despite the teen having almost no prior driving experience. After Arden left with the children, Trevor allegedly raped Alisa before putting her in her dark blue Saturn Outlook and driving across Hillsborough County.

According to court records, several witnesses spotted Trevor and Alisa at a Walgreens at 5605 Fishhawk Crossing Boulevard. at about 9:05 pm. She screamed for help with her hands tied behind her back as he forced her into a vehicle and drove off. Bystanders provided authorities with the car’s number plate — GLHM32 — and the officers began looking for the vehicle. Trevor allegedly slit one of Alisa’s wrists as punishment for trying to flee and then holed up with her in her car in a secluded area of Manatee County for more than 24 hours.

They emerged after running out of food and water, with Trevor planning to charter a boat to carry out a murder-suicide plot. He wrote several suicide notes detailing his plan and activities before the authorities captured them at The Inn at Little Harbor Resort in Ruskin, south of Tampa, after receiving a tip. According to reports, Trevor allegedly attempted to strangle Alisa with a rope as the police closed in, then began slashing at his own throat with a razor blade. He was taken to a hospital for a self-inflicted wound, but it was not critical.

The case drew headlines as the 45-year-old Trevor ditched his court-appointed legal team midway through his August 2022 trial for allegedly grilling his wife and children in court. However, a jury found him guilty of all charges, including kidnapping, auto theft, domestic violence charges, sexual battery, attempted murder, false imprisonment, and child neglect, on August 27, 2022. He was sentenced to spend the rest of his natural life in jail on October 4. According to court records, he is incarcerated at the Okeechobee Correctional Institution.

Read More: Trevor Summers: Where is Alisa Mathewson’s Ex-Husband Now?