A West Virginia man, Peter Lizon, was arrested for allegedly making his wife his slave for the last 10 years.
Police say the woman, Stephanie, was essentially held hostage by being kept in chains and abused for years. She finally escaped last month when Lizon took her for a trip to town to return some rented farm equipment. While he was in the store, she ran from the car and hid in a nearby Zumba dance studio until someone took her to a local domestic violence shelter where one person described her as "filthy and gaunt."
Shockingly, it wasn't Stephanie who told investigators about her horrific story. Another woman staying at the crisis center filed a criminal complaint claiming that she met a woman who was brutally beaten by her husband. And what police heard left them stunned.
Lizon allegedly called his wife "slave" and made her kneel before him when he entered a room. The woman also said Stephanie suffered a miscarriage after he hit her in the stomach and then gave birth to a stillborn baby that was buried somewhere on their farm. The report also said she gave birth to another baby a year ago while chained and neither had ever seen a doctor. (Stephanie fled without her son.)
Photos of Stephanie reveal even more. Her injuries ranged from very bad burns from hot frying pans to broken fingers and bruises all over. She has scars on her wrists and ankles from the chains and her feet were mutilated because they were supposedly smashed with a heavy piece of farm equipment.
For his part, Lizon, who is being held in jail, says he's innocent. His attorney told reporters that the woman who made the report has a "feeble mind."
One thing is for sure -- Stephanie's wounds are real. Police say it is one of the worst domestic violence cases they have seen and I don't doubt that. This kind of prolonged torture and isolation demonstrates a level of cruelty most of us could never imagine a loved one inflicting. Though sadly, she is not alone. Government stats show that 1.3 million women are assaulted by a husband or boyfriend each year. It's frightening what one human being can do to another, isn't it.
Does this story shock you?
Image via John-Morgan/Flickr