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Woman who says she escaped captivity leads police to her child

By Denise Hollinshed, St. Louis Post-Dispatch –

WASHINGTON PARK, Mo. — A Missouri woman who said she escaped this week after being held captive for three years led police Thursday evening to a bungalow where officers rescued the child she said she had to leave behind.

A young child who was removed by ambulance shortly after 6 p.m. appeared to be unhurt. A man and woman were led in handcuffs from the Washington Park home.

The woman told police she escaped Tuesday but could not take the child with her.

Washington Park Police Chief David Clark said the woman had run away from her St. Louis home and was reported missing in 2009, when she was 16. She said she was held against her will by a man who raped her and fathered her child two years ago, Clark said.

Washington Park police said they confirmed that a missing person/runaway juvenile report had been filed with the St. Louis Police Department.

In a news release, Washington Park police said the woman told them she was forced to falsify medical records and use a false name to conceal her identity.

The woman also alleged that the suspect’s mother helped falsify the records and helped detain her in the house.

Whenever she tried to escape, the woman told police, she was run down by the suspect and forced back at gunpoint. She was finally able to escape “with the help of a relative and came to our police department,” the release said.

The release also said the woman “stated she had been beaten and sexually assaulted by the suspect almost every day since she was in captivity.”

Clark said that when it was time for the woman to give birth, she went to a hospital under an assumed name, and the man and his mother stayed with her the entire time.

He did not release any other details.

A neighbor, Connie Hunt, who has lived on the street for two years, said she had often seen the man and his mother outside, and saw the teen once or twice.

“All I know is they seemed like sweet neighbors,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about someone being held captive. … We didn’t know anything was going on over there.”

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