Facebook Post Saves Utah Mom, Son After Being Held Hostage
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah woman used Facebook to seek help after she and her 17-month-old son were held hostage at a residence for nearly five days, police said.
Police Sgt. Jon Arnold said the woman hid in a closet with a laptop to post her plea for help on the social networking website, saying she and her son would be “dead by morning” if they were not rescued.
The post prompted someone to call police, who went to the home to check on the woman’s welfare.
“Facebook was her only outlet that she had at the home,” Arnold said. “It just happened that she was able to use it.”
Police arrested Troy Reed Critchfield, 33, and booked him into jail Saturday for investigation of aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy, aggravated assault, domestic violence, child abuse, animal cruelty and other charges.
Salt Lake County Jail records show Critchfield initially refused to let police in the house.
The papers say the woman shook her head to indicate “No,” when officers asked if she was OK.
After police separated the couple, the woman told officers she and her child had not been allowed to leave the home and that she repeatedly had been hit, choked and sexually abused over a period of nearly five days. Jail records show the woman also claimed Critchfield had taken her cell phone and the phone of a disabled child also in the home.
“She claims that any time she went to go to a door, he physically assaulted her,” Arnold told The Associated Press on Monday.
The woman had bruises and other physical injuries consistent with allegations, but refused to go to a hospital for treatment, he said.
She also told officers that Critchfield grabbed the boy’s arms and treated him roughly, while also refusing to let her feed the family dog, jail papers state.
Critchfield remained in jail on Monday. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
Utah State Court records show that in December 2010 Critchfield pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault and obstruction of justice charges in connection with a domestic violence incident.
A judge sentenced Critchfield to a prison term of five years, but suspended the punishment for a 120-day jail term and three years of probation.
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