Woman Held Captive In Pit Inside Deranged Neighbor’s Shed

The cries a neighbor heard from the shed next door were her own daughter's. 

By Benjamin H. Smith

An Ohio man with a history of drug abuse and mental illness was arrested after police found a woman held captive inside a shed on his property. Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT reports 45-year-old Dennis Dunn of Blanchester was arrested and charged with kidnapping following the discovery of Jennifer Elliott, 30, who was being held against her will in a pit that had been dug in the floor of the shed. “Wood had been placed over the top of the pit, and heavy objects placed on top the wood to prevent her escape," said Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt.

Elliott had been reported missing by her mother, Gayle Rowe, on Wednesday at 1:30am after she noticed her daughter was "inexplicably absent" from her bedroom. Officers searched the neighborhood shortly thereafter to no avail but returned later when Rowe heard crying emanating from a shed on an adjacent. The property belonged to Dennis Dunn.

Dunn has a history of drug arrests and traffic violations, as well as a history of conflict with Elliott. According to WCOP Cincinnati, Elliott told police that Dunn was sending her "harassing phone calls and text messages" in October, 2016, but declined to press charges against him. Police were called to Dunn’s house multiple times over the past month, after Dunn reported repeated break-in attempts, none of which could be substantiated. On April 2, neigbors called police after Dunn was seen brandishing a pistol in the yard of his home. He was disarmed without incident and involuntarily admitted for a psychological evaluation at an area hospital, but later released.

Police describe the pit Elliott was kept in as being about 3-and-a-half feet deep and 2 feet in diameter. Elliott was unable to speak when authorities found her, and “appeared to be suffering a seizure," according to Chief Reinbolt. Though officer’s observed “no obvious signs of physical trauma," she was taken to a hospital, and has since been discharged. Though a tactical unit had been called to assist in arresting Dunn, whom they feared might be armed, the suspect was taken into custody without incident after walking out his front door "in a nonchalant manner," in Reinbolt’s words. He is currently in custody and will next appear in court Thursday morning.

[Photo: Blanchester Police Department]






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