LONDON (AP) — A British model who was allegedly abducted in Italy has said she understands why people may doubt her story, but insists she was "terrified" and certain she would die during the ordeal.
Chloe Ayling says she was lured to Milan for a fake photo shoot, then drugged, stuffed into a suitcase and held at a rural house by criminals who threatened to auction her on the dark web.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, 20-year-old Ayling said "I was terrified beyond words. ... I thought, 'I'm not going to get out of here alive.'"
Ayling was freed after six days when a captor took her to the British consulate. Italian police have arrested a 30-year-old Polish man, Lukasz Herba.
Explaining why she did not try to escape — and even went shopping with her captor — Ayling said she was told she would be killed by a criminal syndicate called Black Death if she tried to flee.
On a website, the group purports to sell weapons and drugs, arrange murders and conduct human trafficking. Police say they have not determined whether the organization is real, and many cyber-experts are skeptical about its claims.
Ayling told the newspaper it was "hurtful" that some people doubted her story.
"I understand why people have questions," she said. "People need to understand that everything I did was so I could survive. I was in a crazy situation and I was terrified every minute.
"I know the truth, the police know the truth and it will all come out at the trial," she was quoted as saying.