Thursday, December 29, 2011

Facebook Saves the Lives of a Woman and Her Son

Facebook is a great place to learn about what is going on in the lives of your friends and families. It’s always been thought of as a great way to keep updated, but this was taken to a whole new level this weekend. A Facebook status was able to save the lives of a woman and her 17-month-old, disabled son who were being held hostage by her boyfriend in their home in Utah for five days.

According to the Associated Press, the woman told the Salt Lake City Police that she and her son were forcibly detained in their home by her boyfriend, 33-year-old Troy Critchfield, for nearly a week. She said that he choked her, repeatedly hit her and sexually abused her. While holding them in the house, Critchfield took the woman’s cell phone and would not allow her to feed her dog. He was arrested and detained by the Salt Lake City Police on Saturday, December 24 while they looked into the various charges which the AP said included aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy, aggravated assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and animal cruelty, among other things.

Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Jon Arnold told the AP that the woman was able to hide in a closet with her laptop and submit a Facebook status that stated that both she and her son would be “dead by morning” if they did not receive any help.

The post that she wrote caught the attention of one of her friends who called the police. The police were then dispatched to the captive woman’s home to see if she was alright.

"Facebook was her only outlet that she had at the home," Arnold said. "It just happened that she was able to use it."

According to the Salt Lake County Jail records, when the police first arrived, Critchfield would not let them into the house. Once he let the police inside, the AP reported that the police asked the woman if she was okay. She indicated that she was not by shaking her head “no.”

The police then separated Crichfield and the woman, and she revealed the details of the past five days. She also told them that Critchfield had grabbed her son’s arm, hit him on the head and treated him roughly.

According to the AP, the woman refused to go to the hospital to be treated; however, it was noted that she did have "bruises and other physical injuries consistent with [the] allegations."

"She claims that any time she went to go to a door, he physically assaulted her," Arnold said.

As of right now, Critchfield is still being held in jail. It is unclear as to whether or not he has a lawyer yet.

According to Utah State Court records, Critchfield was involved in a domestic violence incident in December 2010 and plead guilty to charges of aggravated assault and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced by a judge to five years in prison; however, the punishment was reduced to 120 days in jail and three years of probation.

Sources: The Associated Press - Police: Utah mom, son rescued after Facebook post, The Washington Post - Man charged in Utah hostage case that ended with Facebook post was convicted for similar crime and PCMag - Facebook Status Saves Woman From Hostage Situation

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