A woman who had been reported missing from Blanchester, Ohio, a suburb about 40 miles northeast of Cincinnati, was found alive. The woman was discovered on April 26 after a person reported hearing cries coming from a shed located at 113 Central Avenue. Once the police arrived, they found 30-year-old Jennifer Elliott trapped in a hole inside of a backyard shed.
The hole was described as about 40 inches deep and 2 feet wide. It was covered with wood to conceal the hole, and there were heavy objects found on top of the wood so that the victim could not escape. Police described the area in which the victim Jennifer Elliott was being held captive as extremely tight quarters.
The victim’s mother reported her missing at around 1 a.m., and a couple of hours later, at approximately 3 a.m., Blanchester police received the call about the cries coming from the Central Avenue backyard. Once discovered, the victim was taken to a hospital and has since been released.
The owner of the shed is 45-year-old Dennis Dunn. Dunn was arrested on a kidnapping charge and taken to Clinton County Jail. According to the New York Times, the woman was likely trapped inside of the shed for 2 or 3 hours before being discovered by police.
Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt said Dunn surrendered himself without incident shortly after 8 a.m. He will appear in Clinton County Municipal Court on the morning of Thursday, April 27. Dunn’s criminal record shows drug arrests in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and he also has known mental health issues.
It appears Jennifer Elliott was not a random victim. WCPO in Cincinnati reported that Dennis Dunn and Elliott have a history together. Last October, Elliott contacted the police because Dunn was harassing her via text messages and phone calls. The sheriff’s office said that Elliott chose not to press charges against Dennis Dunn.
Earlier this month, Dunn’s neighbors called the police and reported that Dunn was in his backyard with a pistol. After that incident, he was involuntarily admitted for a psychological evaluation at Clermont Mercy Hospital. In regards to that incident, Police Chief Reinbolt feels that people with mental health problems are not receiving the proper help they need.
Reinbolt told the Wilmington Journal News,“It would appear to me that Mr. Dunn is in need of some sort of psychiatric treatment. He was taken to a mental health provider in order to receive that treatment. Within 24 hours he was released, but continues to exhibit the same symptoms.”
Reinbolt also said, “I am angry at a state government that places dangerous, mentally ill people into our neighborhoods.”
Dunn has also called the police in the past, telling authorities that people were trying to break into his home and that he could hear their voices. Each time the police responded, they would take the time to look in and around Dunn’s property but would find no evidence of intruders.
When the police were at Dunn’s house early this morning, his father showed up and apologized to the police for his son’s behavior. Some of the neighbors seemed shocked that Dunn had gone so far as to hold a woman captive. Even with his past strange behavior and numerous arrests, this incident still surprised many who know Dennis Dunn.
After the arrest, the Blanchester Police Department obtained a search warrant for Dunn’s residence and are looking around the scene for any additional evidence. The victim and her family are eagerly waiting to see what the judge does with Dunn after tomorrow’s court appearance.
[Featured Image by Clinton County Sheriff’s Office/AP Images]