Abduction victim spreads the word on LifeLine Response App - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Abduction victim spreads the word on LifeLine Response App


Jonna Williams is spreading the word about an app that could help if you're in danger.

As a child, Williams was abducted from her bike while riding to get ice cream in Waterloo. She was assaulted and her life was threatened. But thankfully her abductor let her go.

Now, she wants everyone to know about an app that could help keep us all a little safer.

"If I'm walking to my car and it's dark, if I'm out for a jog," said Jonna Williams.

The app is called LifeLine Response and was developed by Peter Cahill, a former investment banker from Chicago.

"My nieces were an attempted abduction in a very wealthy town outside of Chicago called Barrington. When that happened, I was in the development process, but I said that things gotta get to market and it's gotta get to market quick," said Peter Cahill.

It took Cahill more than three years to develop the app.

He said he wanted it to be the best of the best because his goal is to help eliminate violent crimes, just like the abduction that forever changed Jonna Williams' life more than 18 years ago.

"These things are not stopping and these things happen in the middle of the day. I was abducted in the middle of the day. So were the Evansdale girls. So was Donnisha Hill," said Jonna Williams.

The app has two main modes: thumb mode or timer mode.

You'd use thumb mode if you're walking to your car at night. You just keep your thumb pressed on the button. If you stop pressing the button, you have a certain amount of time to type in your disarm code. If you don't type in the code, LifeLine Response calls you. If you don't answer, the authorities are contacted.

In timer mode, you can set the timer for up to 90 minutes if you're going for a walk or a jog. Then again, you disarm it or LifeLine tries to reach you and contacts authorities if there's no response.

Peter Cahill describes the app as a 21st-century 911 system, which Jonna Williams believes is needed -- especially now.

"Our community's pretty broken right now, and anything that can help us be safe or give us some piece of mind, we need to have," she said.

Because of the murders of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, Peter Cahill wants to give something back to the community.

He's offered to provide a total of $250,000 to cover the cost to download the app for 13- to 19-year-olds in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls school districts.

That offer is currently still in the works with the schools.

"We can make a difference. There is an opportunity and people have to seize the opportunity," said Cahill.

Jonna Williams knows just how important it is be proactive when it comes to safety.

"Anything that will help us stay safe, I'm going to back and I'm going to use," she said.

The app costs $21.99 per year, or a little less than $2 a month, for 24/7 service.

For more information on LifeLine Response, click here.

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