DYERSBURG, Tenn. — A woman is clinging to life after she escaped a hostage situation, and the man she says was behind it was someone she met online with hopes of happiness.
Melissa Terrell has been in a hospital bed for two days.
“She has a heart of gold and she tries to help people. It got her hurt,” the victim’s sister, Ashley Hutcherson said.
“I have to feed her. She’s not herself,” the victim’s father, Ronnie Terrell said.
According to family, Terrell met Charles Cook online in December.
She told loved ones he seemed nice and they started dating.
She invited him to her home around Jan. 15 – then she vanished.
“We were getting text messages that she has the flu, pneumonia and strep throat,” Terrell’s father said.
Terrell wasn’t showing up to work and family members were being told to stay away, since her new boyfriend Charles was taking care of her.
“But it was her boyfriend who was actually texting us while she was being held hostage for those days,” Terrell’s father said.
It went on for two weeks.
“He took the plunger of the stick and he beat her with it.”
Terrell told family Cook raped her repeatedly and even tried to drown her.
As she was in and out of consciousness, she somehow found the strength to take a chance once he finally left her alone for a moment.
Terrell crawled through the door, went across the street and got help in the middle of the night.
With no clue that Terrell escaped, Cook tried to continue the crime.
He texted the victim’s relatives, saying she was still sick.
Little did he know she was already being airlifted to Memphis.
Officers pinged the suspect’s cellphone and arrested him.
Cook was caught in Terrell’s car, he is now facing aggravated assault charges and especially aggravated kidnapping charges in Lauderdale County.
WREG did some digging and found he has domestic assault charges and a violation of order charge connected to two different woman in the last year in Dyer County.
Terrell’s family wants him stopped.
“If he gets away with this, he will kill someone,” the victim’s sister said.