Police have arrested a Florida couple and accused them of holding a pregnant woman and her daughter hostage for nearly two weeks, beating the woman and repeatedly raping her as the child was forced to watch, according to PEOPLE.
Manuel Escobar, 32, and his 23-year-old girlfriend, Tahlia Ortiz, were arrested on Tuesday after the unnamed pregnant woman and her daughter managed to escape while Escobar was at work, police have reported.
Authorities say the brutal string of events began when the woman, who is 18-weeks pregnant, and Escobar got into an argument during a phone conversation. He allegedly appeared at her home the next morning and attacked her, taking the pregnant woman and her daughter hostage, a dire situation that police say lasted 11 entire days.
While the pair was trapped inside the Lee County home, investigators say the pregnant woman was forced to endure endless torture, including being choked, beaten, threatened with a hammer and repeatedly raped. Allegedly, this all happened in front of the woman’s daughter, whose age has not been released. Court records also indicate that the couple knew the woman was pregnant and raped and tortured her anyways.
At one point, according to police, Escobar even asked Ortiz for advice, wondering aloud if he “should just kill her.”
The pair even made the woman sleep in bed with them so “they could keep an eye on her” amid threats to “bash her head in,” according to court documents obtained by NY Post.
As reported by Naples Daily News, a window for escape appeared when Escobar left for work and forgot to bring the pregnant woman’s stolen car keys, which he allegedly kept with him at all times. Court records state that she grabbed her daughter, hopped in her car and drove to the sheriff’s office to file a complaint.
Escobar has been charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, battery by strangulation, sexual assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and obstructing justice.
Ortiz faces charges of kidnapping and sexual assault. Both are being held at the Lee County Jail without bail, according to arrest records.
[Featured Image: Lee County Sheriff’s Office]