Deputies: Arrest warrant issued for man seen dragging woman into truck

Woman found with minor injuries; deputies searching for Eric Van Maier

By Francine Frazier - Senior web producer, Colette DuChanois - Web producer

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - An arrest warrant has been issued for a man accused of kidnapping his girlfriend, who has since been located, near Palencia on Saturday, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office announced Sunday.

Deputies said they identified the suspect as 41-year-old Eric Van Maier, whom they said could possibly be armed and was last known to be in the St. Augustine area.

On Saturday, according to the Sheriff's Office, someone saw a woman jump out of a moving truck as it was headed north on U.S. 1. She ran to a nearby construction site, asking for help.

The pickup truck circled the area and pulled back into the construction site. It was captured on surveillance video.

The man, who the woman indicated was her boyfriend, forcibly took control of the woman, dragging her back to the truck as she asked a citizen to call authorities, deputies said.

When the citizen tried to intervene, the man, whom deputies later identified as Van Maier, motioned threats to harm the person and then forced the woman into the truck before heading north again on U.S. 1 toward Jacksonville.  

According to deputies, the woman was located later in the evening. At last check, she was recovering from minor injuries. 

The truck was also found Saturday night in the St. Augustine area, but deputies said Maier was not with it. 

Deputies said Van Maier is aware he is being sought and has made comments indicating he's armed.

He is described as a white man wearing Hawaiian board shorts and no shirt. He is well tanned and about 6 feet, 2 inches tall.

As of Sunday, deputies said, Maier was believed to still be in the St. Augustine area, though they said he has had contacts in Jacksonville in the past. 

Anyone who sees him is asked to call 911 and not approach him.

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