Teen Jasmine Block recounts horrific 2017 abduction on Dr. Phil

She was taken from her Alexandria home by a family friend and repeatedly assaulted over 29 days.
Publish date:
Jasmine Block

The Alexandria teenager who was abducted and held captive for 29 days in 2017 has re-lived her horrific experience on Dr. Phil.

Jasmine Block was just 15 years old when she was taken from her home on Aug. 8 by Thomas Barker, the father of her best friend, and subjected to a 29-day ordeal that ended when she swam across a Grant County lake to escape.

Now 17, she appeared on a Tuesday episode of Dr. Phil, where she described the horrors she endured over her almost month-long captivity at the hands of Barker and two other men.

She was initially driven by Thomas Jay Barker to his home in Carlos, where he sexually assaulted her, bound her with zip ties, and threatened with weapons over the next several weeks – at one point even trying to drown her in a bathtub.

She told Dr. Phil that she went with Barker originally because she was best friends with his son, and Barker had told her his son was having a breakdown. 

Halfway to his home in Carlos, she said she started getting a "weird vibe."

It turns out, Barker told her he'd planned to kidnap her a few days prior, when she'd been out biking with him and his son, and had fallen and hurt her ribs.

"He said he kidnapped me because I pulled my shirt up to show the bruise on my ribcage," she told Dr. Phil.

Barker was later aided by Joshua Holby – who at one point stabbed Block in the mid-section – and Steven Powers, who also sexually assaulted her.

She fought them off as the trio tried to suffocate her beneath a couch, and on two more occasions when they again tried to drown her in the bathtub.

She survived her fifth murder attempt when the trio made a hash of an attempted hanging, knocking over the bucket they wanted her to stand on. 

"Is it fair to say that they weren't the brightest men?" Dr. Phil asked, to Block's agreement.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

Barker's wife and mom visited the house while she was being kept there, with Block threatened with death if she made a noise.

A deputy also came knocking on the door, prompting the trio to take the decision to move her in a duffel bag placed in the back of a truck.

"I still thought they were going to kill me, it was just a matter of when," she said.

The escape

At some point during her captivity, Block was moved to a foreclosed property in rural Grant County, which is where Block made her dramatic escape.

Her captors had gone out to get some food and look for some drugs they'd dropped out of their vehicle as they passed a police officer.

"I thought if I ever want to escape, this is the time to do it," she said.

Block started running, coming upon two nearby houses, but there was nobody answering.

She then saw a residential area across Thompson Lake, kicking off her shoes and swimming in a shirt and boxers across the lake.

"At that time I had the fear of drowning," Block said, noting she's not the strongest swimmer.

After getting back on dry land, she ran through a cornfield and came across a man driving a pickup, telling him: "Call 911. I'm Jasmine Block and I got kidnapped."

After police arrived and she was being taken to safety, Block noticed her captors driving in the other direction, pointing them out to police.

The aftermath

There was relief for Jasmine and her mother Sarah, but the impact it has had on the now 17-year-old has been significant.

"I don't really leave the house," she said. "Doctors have diagnosed me with bipolar depression, and my mom wishes I would get out of the house more."

Sarah Block said that her daughter has been in hospital on three occasions for 2-4 week periods after suffering flashbacks of her ordeal.

"She'll never be the same again. None of us will. Jasmine has flashbacks. She has night terrors. She shuts down, or isolates herself. It's hard for her to trust anyone."

As for the man who abducted her, a friend of the Block family, Sarah Block said: "I didn't understand any of it, how he would even think about it.

"He has 6 kids of his own. We've known him since all our girls were little. To find out it was Thomas hurt."

Dr. Phil has said he would be referring Block to one of the world's leading PTSD specialists, saying: "She deserves whatever she needs to get back to having a joy-filled life.

"You've earned that."

Thomas Barker in December was sentenced to just under 24 years in prison, a term that will be comprised of three separate sentences – including felony kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct – to be served at the same time.

Holby, whom Block identified as the nicest to her of the three, was sentenced to 8 years, while powers was sentenced to 8-and-a-half years.

Next Up


Here's how much snow fell in Minnesota on Sunday

Some localized areas saw more than expected.

Lindsay Guentzel

For The Week: What's harder than making a meal plan? Sticking to it!

Lindsay Guentzel says you shouldn't give up on your meal planning routines.

snow, plow

Winter storm warnings issued as snow system shifts in Minnesota

The worst of the snow will now hit further north, affecting areas including St. Cloud and the I-94 corridor.

Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba beats the clock to give Wild sixth straight win

Dumba scored as overtime came to a close for another Wild victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Bradley Beal terrorizes Timberwolves in loss to Wizards

Beal and the Wizards handed the Wolves their seventh straight defeat.

Marcus Carr / Gopher basketball

Gophers tourney hopes take another blow with loss to Nebraska

Marcus Carr scored a career-high 41 points, but Minnesota is still winless on the road.

St. Paul police

St. Paul police arrest teenage boy in carjacking crackdown

This comes amid a dramatic spike in Twin Cities carjackings.


Snow latest: Twin Cities set for up to 4 inches

A narrow system will travel across Minnesota overnight.


Mom says man tried to abduct her daughter at Super Target

She described the terrifying incident in Edina on Facebook.

Police alert after attempted abduction near Brainerd

A man approached a woman from behind and grabbed her by the arm.

A second attempted abduction reported in Albert Lea

It happened 24 hours after a similar incident at the Freeborn County Fair.

Serenity Jones

Mother who abducted daughter is charged with burglary

The non-custodial mother broke into her daughter's home.

Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 6.00.10 PM

Police: Man attacks, tries to abduct girl in Coon Rapids

It happened Friday morning while the teenage girl was on her skateboard.

More details emerge about woman's abduction, rescue in Otter Tail County

The terrified mother was abducted in front of her four children.

One of three men who kidnapped Alexandria teen sentenced

The girl managed to escape after 29 days in captivity.