Kidnapped: A Bell Rings, Two Lives Change

It was almost noon on Christmas Eve 1993. Ruth Mayer was badly shaken and disheveled as she neared a stranger's front door in El Sobrante, Cal. But there was an element of relief because her 63-hour ordeal at the hands of kidnappers was nearly over. Dorothy Fredenburg opened her door, brought Ruth inside and dialed 911. As Ruth collapsed into a chair to wait for authorities to come pick her up, Fredenburg asked if Ruth wanted to call her family to say she was OK. Mayer's husband, jeweler Gene Mayer, says he was a "basket case" waiting to hear from the kidnappers who broke into their home, took valuables, drove away with Ruth and left him bound on the floor. Even today, as the Mayers recount those horrible hours, their voices break and their hands quiver slightly. "You think you're doing everything right and you think it'll never happen to you," Gene says. "But it happened to us. We

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