GIG HARBOR, Wash. - Gig Harbor Police say a 27-year-old woman escaped a house after being held against her will and assaulted for several days.
According to police, an injured woman arrived at a home near Sehmel Dr NW and 86th Ave NW on Saturday, covered in cuts to her head.
Gary and Robin Marcello, were home asleep when they woke up to their doorbell being frantically rung back to back.
"By the time I got to the door there was nobody there," Gary said. "I went outside and looked out my driveway and a young lady was walking away and then turned around and looked at me and had blood all over her face."
He didn’t hesitate, rushing towards her. The couple says parental instincts took over to protect her.
"She just stood kind of by the front door, and she just kept saying 'he's going to kill me, he's going to kill me,'" Robin said. "We didn't know where she came from; she was bleeding out of her ear. It was pretty horrific."
Robin helped the woman call 911. She says the woman was fading in and out of consciousness but was very descriptive of what she had just survived.
She said she had just escaped a house, where she said she was being held against her will for several days.
"She said he was beating, beating her hands, beating her arms and her head, I figured she must have had her arms up protecting herself," Robin said.
"She said that she had been beaten just before she escaped and arrived at the citizens' house," Said Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey.
Gig Harbor Police were called to the house and officers spoke with the woman before she was taken to the hospital. She said she had been picked up by the older man a few days ago, either in King or Thurston County.
She said she did not know the man and admitted to using drugs.
"When she tried to leave, he beat her with a piece of furniture and caused lacerations to her head," Busey said.
Officers were able to get an address from her and went to the house. Once there, they saw blood on the outside porch.
"It was pretty obvious that it wasn't easy for her to get out of wherever she was," Robin said.
As it turns out, the woman didn’t walk very far. She was about 100 yards from the Marcello’s home. The 66-year-old was their neighbor.
"He's been here since like 1985 I think and honestly, he's kind of been a recluse kind of kept to himself a lot, he worked on the well," Gary said.
Pierce County deputies were called to assist, and they knocked at the door. There was no answer.
Authorities then secured a search warrant and entered the home, where they found a 66-year-old man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They also found evidence that someone tried to start a fire inside the house.
Busey says not only is a situation like this out of the norm for the community but digging deeper into the case it's concerning.
"Apparently, somebody tried to set the home on fire by just lighting some objects inside the home. Not successfully, but there was evidence of somebody trying to burn the house down," Busey said. "What was he trying to hide? What else might have been going on? So we're looking further into that."
Busey says once inside, officers noted a lot of clutter. The man may have been a ‘borderline hoarder,’ but he was not known to police.
"No significant criminal history, no police contacts that we're aware of, so we really had no notice of this individual," Busey said.
The Marcello's says the hardest part is knowing this happened a few doors down from their home but they’re grateful they were able to step in and help.
They hope to reconnect with the woman and hope she recovers. They shared a message with her.
"Give herself time, one day at a time, give herself time to heal," Gary and Robin said. "If she needs us, we’re here."
So far there is no risk to the community, as police say no other individuals appear to be involved in this incident. Detectives are still investigating.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Police Chief Busey at (253) 851-2236.