Karen Perrin Claws Out Of Work Bathroom in 'Shawshank' Escape (Video)

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 11:59 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Karen Perrin, a senior assistant at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Washington D.C., was working late on Friday night when she called her husband around 10 p.m. to say she'd be home soon. She then put her cell phone down and went to use to restroom.

What happened next is something out of a movie — "Shawshank Redemption" to be exact. Perrin, wife of former Washington Redskins running back Lonnie Perrin, got locked in the bathroom at her office and was trapped in there for eight hours before she clawed her way through the wall to escape.

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"I thought, 'Ah! This cannot be,'" Perrin told ABC News, describing her initial moment of panic. "It sounds crazy, but I went back into the stall and then washed my hands again hoping to change something… That's when it hit me, 'I'm locked in here.'"

Almost everyone else at her office was gone for the night and, without a phone to call for help, Perrin first tried stuffing paper towels underneath the door, hoping to catch the attention of the monitored security cameras.

"I couldn’t believe it," she said. "I felt hopelessness. I felt like I was going to die in there because of the anxiety I was feeling."

After a few hours, Perrin used a chair that was in the restroom to dismantle the door handle, and then used it as a chisel to burrow into the drywall. She was eventually able to make a hole big enough to fit her hand through, reaching out to unlock the door from the outside.

"I thought about 'Shawshank Redemption,'" Perrin said, referring to the 1994 movie starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. After she got out, "I came undone... I was crying. I felt like I was escaping a bad dream, like when you have a nightmare and you wake up and your heart is pounding and you realize, 'Oh, I was just dreaming. Did that just happen. Am I OK?'"

She immediately called her husband, who was worried sick, and he came to pick her up. Perrin is now taking a few days off to rest at home.

It's not clear how or why the door locked from the outside.

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