Drunken Dad Accused of Holding Family Hostage for 6 Straight Days

Jeanne Sager The Stir Exclusive

Benito LopezThe '80s drama MacGyver taught us all that when in trouble, you've got to use the tools at hand. That's exactly what one mother of two in upstate New York did. The woman's boyfriend is accused of holding her and their two children hostage for six days straight as he drank case after case of beer.

Cops told The Stir that Benito Lopez held his family hostage from New Year's Eve all the way through January 6, when they were finally rescued by sheriff's deputies. So how'd the deputies get there? It's all thanks to mom's smart thinking.

According to Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, Lopez had taken away everyone's electronics and mom's car keys, and he'd disconnected the phone line so neither his girlfriend nor his 11- and 12-year-old kids could call out. But they did have Internet access, and Chaboty says the smart mom pretended to play games on the Internet but was actually using Facebook to send out an SOS to relatives.

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Hey, sometimes you do what you have to do! Facebook may get a bad rap for the amount of time people spend oversharing their every waking moment on the site, but sometimes it's the very best way to get in contact with people. In this case, it was the ONLY way. And fortunately, Lopez' girlfriend figured out how to make it work.

Maybe this is just a part of getting older, but the helplessness of a lot of folks in the younger generation tends to frustrate me to no end. Many of the teenagers and young adults I encounter get flummoxed easily and throw up their hands when the going gets tough.

But when the going gets tough, you don't give up. You find another way. You look at all the resources you have and you find one that works.

Like turning to Facebook when your car keys have been stolen, your phone disconnected, and a crazy drunk man is holding you hostage.

The girlfriend's relatives reached out to the probation department where they were already familiar with Lopez. He's on probation for a felony DWI conviction. Probation naturally sent in cops who found Lopez unarmed but Chaboty said they discovered 15 empty cases of beer, which the father had allegedly been drinking during the entire hostage situation. They arrested him, and charged him with three counts of unlawful imprisonment and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The family is safe, but I can only imagine how much worse this would have been. I happen to know they live in an extremely rural area where neighbors don't always know what's going on next door because houses are spread far apart. The fact that the Lopez' kids school had been cancelled several days in a row because of bad weather certainly didn't help -- there was no one missing them!

In fact, many of the fallbacks you'd think would end a situation like this simply weren't there because of the timing and the location of the Lopez house. His girlfriend really had to think on her toes to find a way to help herself and her kids.

And thank goodness she did. 

What do you think you would have done in this situation?

 

Image via Sullivan County Sheriff's Office

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child abuse, crime