ST. HELENA ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - "I was laying in my bed and I heard a big thump, a boom," said Loretta Jackson. "I thought it was the dog but when I opened my eyes, I saw there were three men standing here with black masks and clothes on. They picked me up and threw me on my floor."
That's when the nightmare began for Loretta and her son Laron Jackson.
"It was the longest 20 minutes of my life," said Loretta. "I just knew I was going to die."
Deputies say Loretta's step daughter, Veronica Mack, and her step daughter's husband, Eric Mack, and three other men broke into their home on Dulamo Bluff around 4 a.m. Monday.
"It's unbelievable," said Laron. "You would never expect something like that to happen to you, especially someone close to you, someone you know."
Laron says the men came into his room, bound him with duck tape, pistol whipped him on his head and cut off part of his toe.
"One instantly came and jumped on my bed, had his knees on my shoulder and kept asking where's the cash, where's the cash," said Laron. "I said I didn't have any and he started duck taping me. That's when Eric came in. He kept saying where's the money, where's the money. I said Eric why are you doing this and he said oh man, now I'm going to have to kill you."
Meanwhile, Laron says he could hear the suspects sharpening a knife.
"Shing, shing. I saw the knife, the metal rod he was sharpening it with. That's why he said they struck and chopped my toe," said Laron.
He says once they went downstairs, he knew he had to do something.
"They had duck tape around my head, and my feet were bound," said Laron. "I bit my hands free and I jumped loose and I started kicking my foot. I went from my room to the balcony."
He jumped off the second story balcony and ran to a nearby neighbor's home to get help and call 911.
Loretta says the timing was perfect, because once the suspects noticed Laron was gone, they fled.
"He put the gun to the back of my head on the pillow," said Loretta. "He said we got everything now, I got to do what I got to do and that's when the guy said he got away and they ran. I just thank God, thank God, thank God. Thank God for my son. He saved my life and he saved his life."
After stealing numerous items, including a television, jewelry, and Loretta's car, they left the house. Laron was able to provide deputies with a description of their vehicle and once they were spotted in downtown Beaufort, authorities say the five suspects led them on a long chase all the way out to U.S. Highway 17. All five suspects were caught and remain in the Beaufort County Detention Center. They are awaiting a bond hearing by a circuit court judge.