The woman at the center of a Texas mystery, in which she was seen ringing doorbells while barefoot and with shackles around her wrists, has come to the defense of the man she claimed had sexually assaulted her that night.
The woman has not been identified, but spoke out to KTRK about the case that has intrigued the nation, saying she “was scared at the time” she was seen on a widely distributed video ringing doorbells in the Montgomery area.
She told the station that she had only learned about the video making the rounds on social media last week. That was also when she learned of her boyfriend’s suicide.
She said that the boyfriend, Dennis Collins, was not himself on the night she was assaulted.
“That’s not who he truly is,” she told KTRK.
In a statement to the station, she thanked those around the world who prayed for her safety and said that it “hurt her heart” to learn of those who believed the woman in the video was a missing loved one.
She also came to her boyfriend’s defense.
“I forgave Dennis long before he was gone, and I love him,” her statement read. “I know I will fall short daily, but I hope to continue to choose to be loved. And I hope that for us all.”
Chilling footage showed the woman ringing a doorbell at a home in Montgomery, located outside Houston at 3:20 a.m. on Aug. 24. The woman, barefoot and wearing a T-shirt, appeared to have restraints on her wrist.
For days, authorities searched for her before she was finally found after the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office did a welfare check on a man who had made suicidal comments earlier this week. When they entered the home in question on Wednesday, the man, later identified Collins, was found dead of a single gunshot wound.
Collins’ girlfriend, a 32-year-old woman, was then confirmed to be the woman in the video. She was not at the scene when Collins died, authorities said.
Collins’ brother, Jeff Collins, told ABC News his brother and the woman were just having "kinky sex" and that Dennis had raved about his girlfriend, who lived at his home with Dennis and Dennis' daughter.
The woman, however, told officials that she was sexually assaulted and the distinctive shackles seen in the video were in fact bondage cuffs. She said on the night in question she managed to break free and was trying to get help.
"He killed himself not out of guilt, but because he couldn't stand his daughter thinking of him that way and because he had been unhappy for a long time," Jeff said. "My brother's come out looking like a monster in all this but he wasn't.
"He was a good man," he added. "They were both good people."
Dennis previously pleaded guilty to sexually abusing another woman nearly two decades earlier in an unrelated case, court documents obtained by ABC News show.