EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — Neighbors who opened their doorways final week after listening to anguished cries for assist discovered a girl with a steel collar and padlock round her neck and a harrowing story of escape.
The lady who mentioned she had been held captive and assaulted for weeks within the basement of a close-by house was determined to be rescued and afraid for her life, they mentioned.
Lisa Johnson, 41, who has lived in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, her entire life, mentioned she was preparing for work round 7:35 a.m. Friday, when she heard a faint “assist me” from outdoors her entrance door, which had been open.
Johnson mentioned she spoke with the younger girl, who instructed her that she was being held towards her will.
“She regarded straight at me and mentioned ‘assist,'” Johnson mentioned at her house Wednesday, including that when she instructed the lady she was going to name the police, she begged her to not.
“Please don’t. Should you name the cops, he’s going to kill us each,” Johnson recounted the lady mentioned.
“I understood the place she was coming from at that time. However I did it anyway,” Johnson mentioned.
The neighbor mentioned that as quickly as she known as police, the lady left. “I seen that she was already proper right here” — pointing to an space between her yard and the neighbor’s.
Timothy Haslett Jr., 39, was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree rape, aggravated sexual offense, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault, in accordance with a criticism filed in Clay County Circuit Courtroom.
He was arraigned Tuesday and entered a plea of not responsible.
Officers haven’t detailed any doable connection between the lady and Haslett.
Johnson and one other neighbor mentioned the lady instructed them each about pals who didn’t survive. They did not have further particulars, and officers haven’t confirmed that every other folks had been held.
“That’s definitely being investigated,” mentioned Sarah Boyd, the general public relations supervisor for the Clay County Sheriff’s Workplace. “All the pieces that the sufferer mentioned occurred to her seems to be true. So, we’re going to take what she says severely.”
‘Screaming for assist’
Ciara Tharp, 38, Haslett’s neighbor, mentioned her grandmother encountered the lady after she escaped.
Tharp mentioned her grandmother heard “a girl screaming for assist” round 7:45 a.m. Friday whereas babysitting Tharp’s toddler son.
“She got here and knocked on the door and my grandma opened it and there was a younger Black lady, she didn’t have a lot on,” Tharp mentioned. “My grandma mentioned that she had a steel canine collar round her neck.”
“The lady instructed her, ‘you need to assist me,'” Tharp mentioned. “She mentioned, ‘I’ve been raped. He’s held me captive. It’s important to assist me. He’s going to finish up killing me.'”
“My coronary heart instructed me I had to assist her,” her grandmother mentioned, in accordance with Tharp.
Tharp mentioned her grandmother introduced the lady, who appeared “fairly weak and hungry,” inside, sat her down and wrapped her in a blanket on the sofa. Tharp mentioned her grandmother fed the lady, gave her water and waited along with her till the police got here.
Tharp mentioned the lady instructed her grandmother, “My pals didn’t make it. He killed my pals. They didn’t make it. However she didn’t actually say rather more about that.”
A possibility to flee
The lady additionally instructed her grandmother, in addition to police, that she had been held since September and escaped when Haslett left the house to take his son someplace, Tharp mentioned.
“She mentioned she took the chance, she flung the door open. She simply ran,” Tharp mentioned.
Tharp mentioned she has little or no interplay with Haslett, however famous that his “home all the time seems useless. It seems like a home that no one lives in.”
Police discovered the lady Friday carrying a steel collar with a padlock and latex lingerie and she or he had duct tape round her mouth, Excelsior Springs police mentioned in a possible trigger assertion filed Friday.
The lady instructed police that Haslett picked her up in early September and stored her in a small room in his basement, restraining her wrists and ankles with handcuffs, police mentioned within the doc. The lady mentioned she was repeatedly raped and whipped whereas she was held hostage, police mentioned, including that the lady had accidents on her again.
Police are persevering with to research the lady’s claims that there could also be different victims who didn’t survive, Boyd mentioned Wednesday.
Authorities spent three days executing a search warrant at Haslett’s house “to be very, very thorough and methodical to search out if there’s any proof that the suspect is linked to different crimes,” Boyd mentioned. In the course of the search, regulation enforcement didn’t discover any our bodies or deceased people, however they’re “wanting on the risk” that there could also be different victims, she mentioned.
Boyd mentioned that along with the Excelsior Springs Police Division and Clay County Sheriff’s Workplace, the Kansas Metropolis Police Division’s crime scene investigation unit and the FBI are additionally offering help to the investigation.
“There are lots of people who’re taking that risk very severely,” she mentioned.
Excelsior Springs, a metropolis of about 10,500 folks, is about 30 miles northeast of Kansas Metropolis, Mo.
Haslett is being held on $500,000 bond, Boyd mentioned, and stays on the Clay County Detention Heart. The courtroom is within the means of appointing a public defender for Haslett, she mentioned.
Minyvonne Burke reported from Excelsior Springs, Missouri, and Daniella Silva reported from New York.