Weeks after she was brutally beaten and held captive for more than 16 hours, a Lorain County domestic violence survivor said she was horrified to learn that her accused abuser had been released from police custody to a local hospital without her knowledge.
According to police records, the victim, who we are calling Jane, was repeatedly choked to the point of passing out.
“I woke up to him hitting me,” Jane told News 5 tearfully.
She escaped through a window but was dragged back inside and endured several more hours of physical abuse.
She eventually escaped to a neighbors home and called police, an incident report said.
“I thought I was going to die right there,” she said.
The alleged offender was taken into custody on June 19 and charged with kidnapping, domestic violence and felonious assault.
According to court records, he was held in custody at the Lorain County Jail.
Relieved that her alleged abuser was in custody, she signed up for VINELink, the National Victim Notification Network designed to provide victims with reliable information about the custody status of their offenders.
Several days later, Jane said she received a call from jail officials asking for updated contact information for her offender's family.
“But they couldn’t tell me anything else,” she said.
Jane checked her offender’s status online, which said he was “in custody.”
But after several days and dozens of phone calls to the jail, courts and sheriff's department, she learned he was no longer in custody and had been released to a local hospital more than five days earlier.
“I had no idea,” she said. “It seems like he was more protected than I was at the time.”
A spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office told News 5 they are looking into what happened.
According to Appriss, the vendor that runs VINELink, the Lorain County Jail did not notify them about the change in status until July 17th. His status in the VINELink system changed soon after.
After Lorain provided the update on the 17th, alerts would have then gone out to anyone signed up for notifications --- but Appriss says no one was registered to receive alerts for that subject.
It is not the responsibility of the jail to notify victims of a change in an offender’s status.
The offender later died in the hospital from self-inflicted injuries. Still, the victim and her family said they deserved to know where he was.
“It brings back the nightmares, the fear,” the victim’s friend said. “She doesn’t know where he was and that’s terrifying.”
VINELink is provided by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in partnership with the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Ohio Department of Youth Services.