Carlesha’s ‘hero’ says those with ‘troubled backgrounds’ can do good

Philadelphia resident Dwayne Fletcher (left) was honored along with a group of local
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Dwayne Fletcher doesn’t have St. Peter’s resume, but to Carlesha Freeland-Gaither and her family he’s a saint.

“A lot of us struggle coming from a troubled background,” Fletcher, a Germantown resident, said Thursday, “but when we get an opportunity to just show people that we can be better, we can. You just have to give us a chance, that’s all.”

Fletcher, along with a group of law enforcement officers who helped free Freeland-Gaither from the whims of a lifelong criminal earlier this month, was honored Thursday by City Council.

Carl Freeland, Freeland-Gaither’s father, called Fletcher “my daughter’s hero.”

“And my hero. If it wasn’t for him,” he added, “my daughter wouldn’t be here right now.”

In Germantown, on the night of Nov. 2, as Freeland-Gaither was violently wrestled into her captor’s car, Fletcher was walking along a nearby street when her cries for help gave him pause.

He turned and headed toward the scene and called police. As he got closer, he heard her kick the windows; he thought they were gunshots. As he got even closer, the abductor pulled away.

He found Freeland-Gaither’s cell phone and eyeglasses on the sidewalk, and again phoned police.

With Fletcher’s eyewitness testimony — and timely surveillance video — police were able to identify Freeland-Gaither’s abductor as Delvin Barnes. He was tracked to a Maryland parking lot.

On Thursday, Freeland said his family hasn’t spoken with his daughter about what happened during her three-day nightmare.

“She really didn’t want to talk about it,” Freeland said. “I’m just glad that my daughter is a friendly person and got him to be a friendly guy where he wouldn’t harm her.”

Healthwise, Freeland said his daughter is “coming along.”

“She’s doing well,” he said. “She’s still a little distraught, but she’s doing well.”

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