Wife of Media-Hating Hostage-Taker Escapes, Nobody Dies

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Photo: Hartford Courant

This was one of those stories we were really worried would turn out awfully. Richard Shenkman, a 60-year-old advertising executive going through a painful divorce, kidnapped his ex-wife and held her hostage for most of yesterday in a home just outside of Hartford, Connecticut. Shenkman, who'd been charged with arson and a few other offenses related to the legal procedure, snatched Nancy Tyler in the morning and issued demands to the Hartford Courant, insisting that they take down all coverage of him from their website. He also demanded that the judge who divorced the couple re-marry them, and that a priest come and administer last rites to Tyler, among other unreported requests.

Claiming that the suburban house they were in was wired with bombs, he held Tyler for over eight hours. "This life I live now is unbearable," he told police. "I can't do this anymore. The only one I want to die is the cops. I get my 12 demands and Nancy walks out of here ... They enter the property, they're dead." Somehow, around 8:30 p.m., Tyler escaped. Shortly after, the house was engulfed in flames. Shenkman did not leave until around midnight, when the fire reached the basement where he was hiding. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance with only minor injuries. He will likely be arraigned later today.

Hostage Drama Ends In South Windsor [Hartford Courant]