VALRICO — Rescued kidnap victim Alisa Summers was freed by law enforcement to return to her normal life Monday, but that doesn't mean her normal life was returned to her.
Summers has lived in a hotel apart from her children while investigators processed her home as a crime scene, she told the Tampa Bay Times. She's fighting, her mother said, to reclaim the children, who were placed with the parents of her estranged husband, a man now in jail.
"It shocked me that I could survive all of this just to come back and have nothing," Summers said late Wednesday. "My clothes, my phone, my car, everything I own is evidence. It has been through the grace of God that friends and family are helping me get the basic things that I need to get through this."
Trevor Summers, 39, was arrested Monday morning after a tip from the public led Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies to a waterside Ruskin resort, ending 54 hours of captivity for Alisa Summers. Separated and in the process of divorcing, she had awakened Saturday to find her husband in her bedroom. Later Saturday, a witness saw her trying to escape from her SUV, hands tied, at a Walgreens.
When she went disappeared, the welfare of the couple's five children, ages 3 to 14, fell to the state, Alisa Summers said, and they were placed with in-laws.
She said her lawyer is working to reclaim them. Details of the proceedings have not been made public.
"The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office child protection investigation division has an open investigation involving the family," said Jessica Sims, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families. "Since this weekend's incident, the children have been in the care of relatives."
Steven and Carol Ann Summers, who are Trevor Summers' parents, could not be reached for comment.
Alisa Summers' Valrico home was cordoned off with police tape for days, but sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said Summers could have returned Wednesday. Investigators collected all the evidence needed for trial, and damage to her front door had been fixed, Carter said.
Summers also got her car back, her mother, Donna Waryga, said Thursday.
Clothes, a phone and other evidence won't be returned until after trial, Carter said.
Waryga said her daughter spent Monday afternoon helping detectives collect evidence. Racing against the rain, she led them throughout southeast Florida to places where she had been taken while her husband looked for a boat to charter. He had a vague plan, Alisa Summers told investigators, to run away with her to the islands and he claimed to have an offshore account.
She was interviewed and also physically examined. Her day wore on until midnight.
Her husband is being held in jail on multiple counts, including kidnapping, sexual battery and attempted murder, pending a bail hearing Monday. State Attorney Andrew Warren's office has opposed bail.
Her mother said Summers expected to get her children back after a hearing Tuesday but instead was granted visitation.
In her interview with the Times, Summers would not discuss her children or details of her captivity — the latter at the request of the Sheriff's Office, she said.
"I have to keep reminding myself that I was given a second chance at life and I'm not going to waste a second of it," Summers said. "I'm going to pour everything I have into my kids, and my goal is just to get the life that my children and I had before this happened, to get them the help they need to keep on doing the things we did together."
While her life remains unsettled, Summers said her Christian faith has been restored by the outpouring of support she has received from strangers.
One of the first things she did after her rescue was to visit a Walgreens for necessities, expecting to settle in with her parents at an area hotel.
"The customers and the employees and all these people I didn't know just wanted to hug me and tell me they were praying for me and so thankful I was alive," she said.
"The love, the love, the love — if it wasn't for people I didn't know looking out for me and saying something when they felt like something was wrong, there is no doubt in my mind I wouldn't be alive."
Contact Anastasia Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.