Highlands mom who used Pizza Hut app to get help in hostage situation speaks out

Cheryl Treadway said she did what she had to do to survive and protect her children.

Treadway said her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, 26, held her and their three sons hostage at knife point Monday. She ordered from Pizza Hut – and asked employees for help.

“It’s been very tough,” she said. “It’s a lot to go through. We’re just getting through it.”

The mom is telling her story hoping to save someone else.

”There’s hope. There’s help even if you don’t think you have anybody. Somebody out there will wanna help you. You are worth it,” Treadway said.

According to Highlands County Sheriff ‘s detectives, the couple had been arguing throughout the day while Nickerson carried a large knife. When Treadway tried to leave to pick up their children from school, Nickerson grabbed her and took her cell phone. He wouldn’t let her go alone, and they drove together.

When they all got home, Treadway came up with the plan to order from Pizza Hut using the restaurant’s app.

“The kids were hungry, and that was my excuse to use that,” she said.

Treadway ordered the pizza and added comments asking for help.

“He thought I was ordering just a regular pepperoni pizza or whatever it was, and I added the few extra words and just hoped and prayed it was going to happen, and it did,” she told News Channel 8.

A receipt shows those few extra words.

“Please help. Get 911 to me,” the receipt reads.

The plan worked. When police arrived, Treadway ran out of the house carrying one son. Nickerson initially refused to leave. After some negotiations he came out.

Nickerson was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery, false imprisonment and obstructing justice by depriving communication to law enforcement.

Treadway said she was so afraid when she sent that message through that Pizza Hut app that she immediately erased the confirmation email that Pizza Hut sent her, letting her know the order was received.

It was risky.

“I knew they wouldn’t text or call me back. He wouldn’t be alerted that I sent out for help,” Treadway said.

Copyright 2015 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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