An Ohio man with a history of mental issues has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a woman and imprisoning her in a dirt pit under his shed.
Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt said Jennifer Elliot, 30, was pulled from the hole at about 4 a.m. Wednesday. Heavy pieces of wood and equipment covered the 2-foot by 40-inch hole and prevented the woman from escaping, he said.
Elliot was distraught, unable to speak and appeared to have suffered a seizure, the chief said in a statement.
Gayle Rowe, Elliot’s mother, reported her daughter missing around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning after finding her bed empty, authorities said.
The two women live next door to Elliot’s son.
Officers searched the neighborhood but found nothing.
Rowe called again, hours later, when she heard crying sounds coming from a shed in 45-year-old Dennis Dunn’s backyard.
Police officers with guns drawn waited outside Dunn’s house until he walked out the door at about 8:00 a.m. “like he was going for a stroll,” Reinbolt said.
He was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, police said. His first court appearance has been scheduled for Thursday.
Elliot had previously reported receiving harassing phone calls texts from Dunn but declined to participate in prosecuting him, authorities said.
He has a history of drug-related arrests and mental health issues, the chief said, according to WCPO-TV.
Dunn called police four times this month saying intruders were trying to break into his house, but officers said they found no evidence to substantiate those claims.
On April 2, neighbors told police Dunn was in his backyard armed with a pistol. He was disarmed and placed under an involuntary psychiatric hold for an evaluation, the chief said.
He was released after 24 hours.
“Dunn appeared to be in need of inpatient mental health treatment, but was released from the hospital after a short stay,” Reinbolt said, according to the station.
“I am angry at a state government that places dangerous, mentally ill people in our neighborhood,” he said.