Pizza Hut order plea leads to Florida woman's rescue from knife-wielding boyfriend

Ethan Nickerson, 26, is seen in an undated picture released by the Highlands County Sheriff's Office in Sebring, Florida.-- PHOTO: REUTERS
Ethan Nickerson, 26, is seen in an undated picture released by the Highlands County Sheriff's Office in Sebring, Florida.-- PHOTO: REUTERS

MIAMI (AFP) - A Florida woman held by a knife-wielding boyfriend was rescued thanks to the plea for help she secretly texted in her online pizza order, authorities said on Wednesday.

Cheryl Treadway was being held against her will on Monday, along with her three young children, by estranged boyfriend Ethan Nickerson, at her home in Highlands, Florida.

Nickerson, who had confiscated her phone, briefly gave it back to her when she asked to place a pizza order.

Treadway took full advantage of the opportunity to send a plea for help, which she typed in the comments section of the online form where patrons usually make requests for extra cheese or not too much pepperoni.

"Please help! Get 911 to me," she wrote in the text message received by workers at a nearby Pizza Hut.

Police dispatched to the home found Treadwell outside, with one child in her arms, and the other two trapped inside with her boyfriend.

Authorities said that after about 20 minutes of negotiations they were able to convince Nickerson to surrender the children and give himself up.

"We've never seen that before," Pizza Hut restaurant's manager, Candy Hamilton, told TV reporters after the drama was over.

"I've been here 28 years and never, never seen nothing like that come through."