EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSWoman Speaks Out About Alleged Kidnapping; Hopes Other Women Will Learn From Her Story
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Jeff Morris
Reported: Sep. 13, 2013 10:24 AM EDT
Updated: Sep. 13, 2013 11:08 PM EDT
Nitro , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A mother in Nitro said a Facebook message saved her life.
That is how she said she alerted police that she was being held against her will by an abusive ex-boyfriend.
Amy Thomas spoke out Friday about the terrifying ordeal and why she said she finally decided to stand up for herself and her kids. She hopes others, in similar situations, will learn from her story.
Thomas said her ex-boyfriend Larry Brown broke into her home Thursday night.
And with their two young children watching, she said he tried to suffocate her, hit her, threatened to kill her and refused to let her leave. She said the entire ordeal went on for more than an hour until she managed to coax her phone away from him.
She sent a Facebook message, simply saying "Call cops now," to her pastor’s wife. Moments later, Nitro police arrived.
“She saved our life,” Thomas said. “If she would have questioned or waited - people don't understand sometimes there’s no time to ask ‘Why’ or to ask, ‘Are you OK? She just did it, she didn't know our street address”
But police knew exactly where to go. They have been to the home far too many times
“He has made several threats in the past,” Deputy Chief Dave Richardson, of Nitro police, said. “He has done some crazy things in the past.”
The couple has been together for 15 years. Thomas said, for the majority of that time, it was an abusive relationship.
"It's a black eye and then you think, 'He would never,' then it's 17 staples in your skull and you think, 'He would never,' then it's him trying to drill your hand to the floor," Thomas said. "You constantly just reset all of this in your mind and you make excuses like, 'Oh, he had a bad day at work.'"
But it wasn't until three months ago that Thomas decided to take action for her kids and herself.
“He had a knife and said, ‘Get your (EXPLETIVE) self back in here’ and something came over me that day and I stepped backwards out the door and that was it for me," she said.
She said she didn't know how to go about leaving, but found support through the YWCA Resolve Shelter and in Nitro police officers, who walked her through the process of getting a domestic violence petition to keep Brown away.
“You just have to find that belief within yourself and realize that there are people out there who do care about you,” She said.
Thomas and her two children are in counseling.
Police said Brown violated that DVP several times, but Thomas said Nitro police were always there to help. She hopes the worst days are now behind her.
Brown has been charged with kidnapping and burglary.
A Nitro man was charged with kidnapping and burglary after he allegedly held a woman against her will and threatened to kill her, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
Larry Michael Brown, 44, of Nitro was arrested Thursday following an incident that occurred on Broadway Avenue, the complaint said.
Nitro police officers responded to the residence to investigate a possible disturbance and make a welfare check. When the officers arrived, they opened the door and the woman ran into the room, hid behind the officers and told them where Brown was located, the complaint said.
The woman told police that Brown, who had been warned by police to stay away from her because of an active domestic violence protection order, entered the home through an unlocked door and started to hit and choke her, demanding to know who she was speaking with on the phone.
While Brown was distracted and talking to the children, she said, she picked up her phone and tried to send Facebook messages asking for help. She said she was trying to send additional messages when Brown grabbed her, held her down and put his hand over her nose and mouth in an attempt to suffocate her. The woman said Brown demanded to know who she was seeing, and she asked him to hand her the phone back and she would provide him with the information. The victim said she used this opportunity to type a message to her friend, stating: “Call the cops now.”
A short time later, the woman said there was a knock at the door and she broke away as fast as she could to get the door and was met by police. The woman told police that Brown threatened to kill her repeatedly while she was held against her will for about an hour.
Brown was being held in the South Central Regional Jail on $100,000 bond.
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