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Crime News

How A Woman Played Hide And Seek With Her Attacker: The True Story Behind 'Sleeping with Danger’ 

After Kathy Ann Jewell's boyfriend John William Branden raped her and attempted to kill her, they both went into hiding and Jewell spent years trying to track him down so she could prevent him from hurting another.

By Gina Tron
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After a flight attendant was violently attacked by her abusive boyfriend, she went into hiding while simultaneously trying to seek him out so she could protect other women.

Warning: Movie spoilers below

In Lifetime’s “Sleeping with Danger,” flight attendant Grace Tanner (played by Elisabeth Röhm) was never lucky in life, until she fell head over heels in love with doctor Paul Carter (Antonio Cupo). He was romantic and attentive but soon enough he becomes a little too attentive. Carter became possessive and jealous and soon he started trying to control every aspect of Tanner’s life; he even decided to end her relationship with her bestie for her.

Carter's behavior escalted to physical violence and he fired off a gun during one of his drunken rages. While Tanner escaped for a bit, she took her explosive boyfriend back. Her tendency to want to see the best in Carter lead to an even scarier incident: He ended up poisoning her and kept her captive in their home before trying to kill her. When she managed to break free, she went into hiding and started a new life. But, so did Carter.

Fearing for both her life and the safety of other women, Tanner worked with police to track down her Romeo-turned-monster so she could prevent others from harm.

The movie, one of five based on the works of crime author Ann Rule, is based on a case included in Rule’s 2008 book “Mortal Danger.” In that true crime collection, she wrote about flight attendant Kathy Ann Jewell, who was forced to flee her Oregon home in 1999 after her boyfriend John William Branden raped her and attempted to kill her. 

“He had promised her that this was the night she was going to die,” Rule wrote, “and she didn’t doubt his intention.”

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Jewell was terrified that Branden would try to track her down so she, like her character in "Sleeping with Danger," went into hiding. At the same time, she feared her ex would try to victimize another woman in the same manner so she spent years of her life trying to track him down, too, according to A&E. She worked with investigators to try to get justice for what Branden did to her while trying to prevent others from being hurt.

Unfortunately, Branden was not located until it was too late. Others did indeed get hurt.

In 2007, Branden, then 62, shot and killed his girlfriend Turid Bentley, 66, and injured their friend 49-year-old Randall Nozawa before killing himself in Washington, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported in 2007. At the time, Branden was living under the alias “John Williams.” The Seattle Post Intelligencer noted that Bentley likely believed she and Branden were married, though they technically were not. 

Branden was still wanted for the rape, kidnapping and attempted murder of Jewell when he orchestrated the 2007 murder-suicide.

Sleeping With Danger” airs Saturday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. EST.