Suspicious 911 call leads police to rape suspect

OAK HARBOR — The 911 dispatcher could hear a woman’s voice calling for help before they were disconnected.

Moments later, when the dispatcher called back around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, a man answered.

He told the dispatcher that everything was fine.

He claimed his daughter accidentally had dialed 911. Then he apparently hung up before the dispatcher could get any more information.

Island County sheriff’s deputies were sent to the home on Moran Road on north Whidbey Island.

There they found a distraught woman, 42, sitting in a car. She told deputies she had been held against her will for several days in a trailer and that she had been raped multiple times.

The suspect, 50, ran away before deputies arrived, Island County sheriff’s detective Ed Wallace said.

The woman told deputies that she’d once lived with the man but left him in April. The two bumped into each other in court June 9 and she said she went back to his trailer with him to retrieve some belongings, court papers said. That’s where she said she was held against her will.

The woman told deputies that she convinced the man to let her take a shower in a nearby barn on Saturday. It was there, she said, she grabbed the phone and quickly called 911 before he disconnected the call. A deputy set up a command post and enlisted help setting up containment from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Parks, Oak Harbor Police Department and Skagit County Sheriff’s Office.

A police dog from Skagit County found the man hiding in some nearby woods around 6:40 p.m. Saturday.

“It did a fantastic job of tracking him down for us,” Wallace said.

The suspect was booked into the Island County Jail for investigation of first-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment. An Island County judge on Monday set bail at $150,000.

The woman was taken to the hospital for a medical exam, Wallace said.

The suspect reportedly told deputies that he ran off because he was afraid of the woman and that she could have left any time she wanted.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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