According to a story in the Associated Press, a woman in Utah and her 17-month old baby were removed from a home where they were being held captive for the past five days after the woman posted a Facebook status update pleading for help. According to an account from the hostage, she ducked into a nearby closet with her laptop and wrote ”Hello…is anyone out there? I am having a serious problem and me and (my son) will be dead by morning,” on her Facebook page on December 24. Friends of the woman were able to determine where she was being held and alerted the authorities of her dire situation.
Upon arriving at the scene, the Salt Lake City police met with the kidnapper and ex-boyfriend, Troy Reed Critchfield, and he eventually allowed the police into the residence. Officers located the woman in the residence and discovered that she had been held in the home for the last five days. Critchfield took her cell phone in addition to hitting and choking her when she approached any door that exited the premises. He also repeatedly sexually abused her during the five days as well as threw the baby and didn’t feed the dog. Critchfield was immediately taken into custody by the police and charged with suspicion of aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy, aggravated assault, domestic violence in the presence of a child, damaging a communication device, child abuse and cruelty to animals.
Critchfield had previously been convicted of felony assault on the same victim during 2010 as well as obstruction of justice charges. While the judge sentenced him to a five year prison term, that punishment was suspended for a 120-day jail term and three years probation. Facebook also played a role in the capture of a fugitive earlier this year as well as a standoff with a SWAT team in Utah