Teri Jendusa-Nicolai and her ex-husband David Larsen had a history of domestic problems before divorcing in 1999. They shared custody of their two daughters (Amanda, 6, and Holly, 4). One Wisconsin winter day, when Jendusa-Nicolai had gone to pick up her daughters at Larsen’s home, Larsen kidnapped his ex-wife, beat her with a baseball bat, and left her for dead in a 4-by-8 unheated storage unit. It was 12 degrees that night.
It took 26 hours before a Public Storage employee heard the muffled cries of Jendusa-Nicolai. She was found partially clothed inside a duct-taped 3-foot-tall plastic garbage can. Larsen worked as an air traffic controller at the Palwaukee airport just a half-hour away from the storage facility. According to the Chicago Tribune, Jendusa-Nicolai “lost all of her toes due to frostbite, underwent 10 operations, and was in the hospital for nearly seven weeks.” She also miscarried. Larsen was sentenced to 35 years in prison for trying to kill her. Jendusa-Nicolai’s story of survival will be featured on In an Instant (June 6, 10pm on CBS).
Note: Larsen had sent the children to a babysitter’s house where they were found safe.