Where is Anne Sluti now? Her life and career

Anne Sluti

On 6th April 2001, Anthony Steven Wright abducted Anne Sluti as she approached her car in the parking lot of Hilltop Mall in Kearney, Nebraska, starting a week-long ordeal that would garner national attention. Anne fought her gun-wielding abductor and almost escaped, but Wright overpowered her, knocking her unconscious. 

Authorities relentlessly pursued Wright, a wanted man in several states, catching up with him in Rollins, Montana. Following a 10-hour standoff, Wright released Anne Sluti. The police said Anne served as the mediator between them and Wright. 

“My initial contact and for most of the duration was with Anne,” Mike Sargeant of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office told Good Morning America. “She was very calm and cool and collected.”

Anne graduated from the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology and works as an engineer

Anne Sluti works as an engineer in Indiana after graduating from the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology. Don, Anne’s father, told Nebraska.tv that the profession fits her personality. “She’s very factual and she doesn’t like to repeat herself and, if there’s a right way to do it, that’s the right way to do it,” Don said. 

Elaine, Anne’s mother, said she and Don were concerned about the mental impact of the kidnapping on Anne. Despite repeated abuse, Anne coped brilliantly and did it without professional help. “She says why would I talk to a stranger about something that happened to me?” Don said. 

Don told the outlet that Anne doesn’t want people to identify her as a victim. “She doesn’t want that,” he stated. “She says no, I want to live my life. It’s just wonderful to know we didn’t lose her.”

Elaine and Don said they do not think about Wright, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping by the district court. His appeal against the conviction and sentence failed. 

Anne’s case indelibly and positively impacted the Kearney community: it became part of the officer’s training curriculum. Mike Sargaent told the Lincoln Journal Star that Anne’s story remains popular:

“Every few months, we find somebody who has either seen the show (on Court TV) or remembers, and wants to know how Anne is doing and about Tony Zappa (also known as Anthony Steven Wright).”

Anne helped create the film Taken in Broad Daylight, based on her abduction. She detailed her experience to director Gary Yates, which helped him craft a production as close to reality as possible. 

Anne expertly left clues for the police, despite suffering repeated physical and sexual abuse

Anne regained consciousness as Wright drove from Kearney to Ainsworth. The following evening, Wright asked Anne to call one of her friends to tell them she’d left on vacation. Anne defied Wright by talking to a family friend and refusing to mention a vacation. 

On 8th April 2001, Wright sexually assaulted Anne and told her he would keep her as a sex slave. Anne remained composed, despite the assault and threats. In one of the houses Wright broke into, Anne found a phone and called the police. Unfortunately, Wright intercepted the call and hurriedly left with Anne before the police arrived. 

In another house in Montana, Anne hid her semen-stained underwear and left notes for the property’s owners. Eventually, the police located Wright and Anne. Wright refused to surrender, barricading himself and Anne inside a cabin. 

Anne agreed to release Anne after the police assured him he would be safe. “I assured him that we wanted this incident to end peacefully… which it did,” Sargeant said

“She [Anne] did an outstanding job,” Sargeant said. Anne stayed alive while leaving behind clues, preserved evidence, and served as a pseudo-mediator between the police and a wanted criminal. 

Anne was absent during Wright’s sentencing, but her parents were in court. “I think we saw justice here today,” Elaine told KETV7. “It’s a tremendous relief.” 

Judge Warren Urbom opined that time and age couldn’t rehabilitate Wright, justifying his life sentence. James Martin Davis suggested that the punishment was too harsh: “Someday, if he walked out of a jail or a penitentiary, he would know in his own mind then, and only then, what he had truly sacrificed for his conduct.”