Woman runs for her life during Grand County camping trip
September 22, 2008
A recent camping trip to Grand County turned into a night of terror and frantic flight through the woods for one Denver-area woman.
Around 1 a.m. Monday, Sept. 8, Deputy Burke Payne was on patrol when a dispatcher from the Grand County Communications Center radioed to inform him that a 9-1-1 cell phone call had just been received from a hysterical woman who said she had just escaped from her boyfriend who had tried to kill her.
The woman told the dispatcher that she was running down a dirt road after fleeing from the campsite where her boyfriend was located. She did not know where the campsite was or what road she was on, but she did provide a description of her boyfriend’s pickup truck.
Based on the little information the woman provided, several law enforcement officers on duty that night began an immediate search for her. Officers Roy Ybarra and Sean Curran of the Fraser/Winter Park Police Department responded to the Meadow Creek Reservoir area, while Deputy Payne went to the St. Louis Creek area. Deputy Rachelle Rooks drove to the Willow Creek Reservoir and Deputy Shawn Murphy headed for the Arapaho Bay campground.
Based upon the woman’s description of the boyfriend’s pickup truck, Officer Ybarra was able to locate the woman’s boyfriend at a campsite on County Road 84 at about 1:30 a.m.
Hearing Ybarra’s radio message, Deputy Payne responded to his location to assist.
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As he drove down County Road 84 to reach the campsite, Deputy Payne heard a woman screaming in the darkness. Immediately slamming on his brakes, Payne stopped his patrol car and a woman ran up to him from the nearby woods. The woman was hysterical and had blood on her face.
“She ran toward me and grabbed hold of me,” Deputy Payne wrote in his report. “I assured her that she was safe and had her start to slow her breathing down.”
After the woman finally calmed down somewhat, she explained that her boyfriend and she had been drinking at the campsite and got into a verbal argument. It intensified to the point where the boyfriend “got in her face and scared her.” She had then fled to the pickup truck and locked the doors, but the boyfriend had reached through an open window and unlocked the door.
After opening the pickup’s door, the woman claimed her boyfriend grabbed her by the throat and choked her until she “lost consciousness momentarily.” After regaining consciousness, the woman said her boyfriend then stated: “I could just kill you up here and no one would ever find your body.”
The boyfriend produced a small knife and held it right under the woman’s nose, cutting her slightly. The woman said she was “very scared and did not think she would live through the night.”
Still waving the knife under her nose, the boyfriend then demanded to know where the truck’s keys were. The woman realized that she was lying on top of them on the seat. Grabbing the keys, she then threw them passed the boyfriend who went to retrieve them. Seizing the moment, the woman jumped out of the truck, ran to their tent, grabbed her cellphone and ran off into the woods.
After escaping, the woman said she dialed 9-1-1 and headed through the woods parallel to the road they used to reach the campsite. Meanwhile, her boyfriend got into the truck and began driving back and forth down the road looking for her, but she stayed hidden in the woods.
Examining the woman’s injuries, Deputy Payne noted the cut under the woman’s nose from the knife. He also saw scratches on her neck that were consistent with someone attempting to choke her.
Officer Curran, who had arrived to assist, volunteered to take the woman to meet a Grand County EMS ambulance to have her injuries checked out.
Deputy Payne spoke with the woman’s boyfriend, who was being held by Officer Ybarra. The boyfriend admitted he had gotten into a verbal argument with the woman, but completely denied having “touched her physically.”
Based upon the evidence, Deputy Payne placed the boyfriend under arrest, handcuffed him and transported him to the Grand County Jail in Hot Sulphur Springs where he was booked on charges of second degree assault and menacing.