ATHENS, Texas (KETK) – More details are emerging about an alleged kidnapping and torture of a woman in Athens.
Six people were arrested late Tuesday night and charged with kidnapping. Authorities say they held a woman against her will in a home for a week as she was “severely tortured.”
“Through the investigation, we learned that she was not from this area, she was from out of state and met these folks online,” Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said. “She came down here, stayed with them for a while and then when she wanted to leave, they would not let her leave. Within the last week, they’ve been holding her against her will and torturing her and beating her.”
The victim was able to escape and ended up at Athens Equine, located less than a half-mile from the home on Waverly Way where she was allegedly held against her will.
Todd Laughrey, an equine vet who helped the victim, said she was acting panicky and it took her 20 minutes just to calm down.
“Her nose was bloody, she had blood all over her face, both eyes were black,” said Laughrey. “She had on her chest a big burn mark and her arms were severely bruised, head to toe. Her shirt was torn. She was just a disaster, just a mess.”
He said she showed up at his business pleading for help.
“You don’t really think about stuff like that until you see it,” Laughrey said. “My heart goes out to her. It’s terrible. People that abuse animals I have zero sympathy for, and same with humans.”
A woman who knew the family involved was shocked to hear the news.
“I was friends with one of the daughters. I dated one of the boys involved, and I actually lived at the residence with them back in 2018. It’s all just mind blowing,” said McKinley Johnson, who had a relationship with one of the men who was arrested.
She said in the time she lived at the house there was never an issue with the group. Johnson is also keeping the victim in her thoughts.
“I pray that she comes out stronger because of this, and I pray she gets the justice she deserves because nobody should have to go through that, nobody,” said Johnson.
The following people were arrested and charged in connection to the crime:
- 45-year-old Summer Lawrence
- 30-year-old Shayne Joseph Anderson
- 22-year-old Amanda Marie Andrews
- 22-year-old Breonna Cheyenne Johnson
- 22-year-old Felicity Emanuelle Walker
- 21-year-old Charles K. Bryant Jr.
An arrest affidavit describes the alleged torture. The document states that on Tuesday, authorities were advised that a white female had been located on South Park Circle in Athens with “severe bruising, burn marks and the word ‘Rape’ shaved into the back of her head.”
The victim was taken to a local hospital for her injuries and officials say she is in a safe place now. When authorities spoke with her, she reportedly told them she was held captive for one week by six people at 104 Waverly Way in Athens. According to court documents, she told authorities she had been tortured and made to call the individuals “Master.”
She said they beat her with a walking cane, “bondage fetish type sex toys”, fists, a wax sealer, award medals and cigarettes, according to documents. She also allegedly said cigarettes were put out on her chest and a wax sealer was used to burn her hand.
Officials say they saw the victim’s arms, legs, back, chest and stomach were swollen and covered in contusions. The victim had linear cuts on several body parts. Authorities wrote that her body “appeared to be more consistent with Livor Mortis in a deceased individual due to the severity of the bruising.”
Documents show that the victim told authorities the people “forced her to eat cat feces and pieces of lettuce they spat on.”
Jail records indicate that all six people remain in the Henderson County Jail. If convicted, they could face 5-99 years in prison.