A case of domestic battery turned into a kidnapping investigation after a woman from Springdale was bound, gagged and dumped, allegedly by her boyfriend.
Betty Burns, 36, of Springdale told Fayette County Sheriff's Deputies that she had been in an argument with her boyfriend, Larry Nelson, on Christmas. She told investigators that Nelson hit her on the head when she tried to leave their home. Nelson then allegedly tied her up and gagged her with a sock and a handkerchief.
According to Burns, Nelson drove her to a surface mine near Springdale Church Road and pushed her out of the vehicle. Ms. Burns was able to free her legs and then said she walked through the woods for 90 minutes to a house where she was able to call for help. That was at around 8 p.m. on Christmas Day.
"This is a very serious crime," said Sheriff Steve Kessler. "While incidents of domestic violence are, unfortunately, far too common, when you tie someone up and abandon them in a remote wooded area, particularly given the cold weather conditions that were prevalent yesterday - it creates a life-threatening situation."
Deputies were able to find the ropes and other items that Burns was tied up and gagged with at the scene. A warrant for Nelson's arrest was issued on Wednesday night. He is wanted for Domestic Battery and Felony Kidnapping.
"Had Ms. Burns been unable to free her feet and walk through the wood in an effort to seek assistance, it is quite possible that she could have died from exposure and hypothermia, "added Sheriff Kessler. "Had that occurred we would be seeking Nelson on a murder charge instead of the crimes of which he currently stands accused."
Ms. Burns was treated by emergency responders, but her current condition is not known. The crime is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fayette County 911 Center at 304-574-3590 or CrimeStoppers at 304-255-7867.