In 2008, Ashley Ware was abducted by Vincent Degidio from her Fargo home. Degidio threatened to rape and kill Ashley, and when she made a break for it and ran to an auto parts store, Degidio took her, and two of the store’s employees, hostage. In a fit of rage, Ware wrestled her assailant– she was then rescued by police.
Read on to learn about Ashley Ware.
1. She Has Forgiven Her Attacker
During Degidio’s sentencing– in which he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and firearms charges– Ware wrote a letter to US District Court Judge Ralph Erickson. In the letter, she forgve Degidio for what he had done to her.
In a 2011 interview, she told The Bemidji Pioneer, “I’ve worked in health care for so long and seen so many people with so many different problems. I know that later on in life … he’ll realize what a terrible thing he did and he’ll feel awful.”
Ware’s letter was not made public, but Judge Erickson, who oversaw the trial, said he found it “deeply moving”, according to 2 Paragraphs. Degidio’s attorney, Christopher Lancaster, said that her attacker was also moved by the letter, and “wondered how she would be able to do that and was extremely appreciative of that.”
2. She Was 23 at the Time of the Attack
Ware was 23 at the time of her abduction, but refused to die in the hands of her assailant. She has told multiple news outlets that during the ordeal, she thought to herself, “‘No way am I going to die at 23 years old, going to let this punk take my life.’ ”
Within months of her abduction, she decided to move out of her Fargo home where she was taken from on that fateful night.
3. She Used Her Nursing Skills During the Attack
Around 9pm of then night of the attack, Ware was getting ready to leave for her nursing job when a stranger knocked on her door and asked if he could use her phone and get a ride. As Ware was leaving for work, she said no. Degidio then proceeded to pull out the gun he was keeping in his sweatshirt pocket.
When she was in the car with Degidio after being taken, Ware told her captor, “You picked the wrong girl to kidnap because my friends tell me I’m a bad driver”. Little did Degidio know, she was trying to create a therapeutic relationship with him– a skill she had learned in her nursing studies.
When the man tried to take her to a desolate location, Ware faked an asthma attack– confusing Degidio– and made a run for it. He followed her to the auto parts store that she’d managed her way into, and later, she kicked his gun out of his hand and wrestled him, making sure to hold the weapon away from her face. Ware bit his shoulder and his ribs, and put pressure under his nose– something else she’d learned as a nurse.
4. She Was a 2006 Miss North Dakota USA Runner-Up
Ware was a runner up at the 2006 Miss North Dakota Pageant. She was also Miss Fargo U.S.A.
5. Her Attacker Was Sentenced to Nearly 29 Years in Federal Prison
According to The Bemidji Pioneer, Degidio pleaded guilty to kidnapping and firearms charges and was sentenced to nearly 29 years in federal prison.
Though Ware knows she was technically victimized in the situation, she believes her attacker may be more of the victim. “He’s the one in jail. He’s the one that has to live with this the rest of his life.”
Today, Ware still works as a nurse. She lives with her husband, Stefan, in New York.