Police say soldier’s husband stabbed, raped her

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Police say soldier’s husband stabbed, raped herBy Alicia A. CaldwellAssociated PressEL PASO, Texas ó A Fort Bliss soldier’s husband kicked her in the face, stabbed and raped her before abducting her from her off-post apartment last week and taking her to Nevada, police said Monday.
The soldier, who turned up wounded but alive in El Paso Sunday night, was attacked as she entered her apartment about 5:15 p.m. Thursday, police said in an affidavit charging Clinton W. Lewis, 34, with aggravated kidnapping.
The Associated Press has previously identified the 29-year-old soldier but is no longer naming her because of the sexual assault allegations. The AP does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault without their consent.
Lewis turned himself in to El Paso police Sunday night. He is being held in the El Paso County jail on $75,000 bail. Jail records do not show if he has a lawyer, but he was scheduled to arraigned Tuesday.
The police affidavit says Lewis was waiting inside the soldier’s apartment and kicked her in the face as she walked through the door. The private first class was stabbed with a kitchen knife, threatened with death, then raped, investigators allege.
Investigators said Lewis then drove the soldier more than 650 miles to Nevada, and apparently boarded an El Paso-bound bus sometime Saturday.
Lewis is wanted in Tennessee on a warrant for not paying back child support and has a decade-long criminal history that includes several arrests for assault and domestic assault.
Tammy Skelton, the soldier’s sister, said early Monday that Lewis returned to El Paso after seeing news reports of his wife’s disappearance.
Delores Pigeon, the women’s grandmother, said the soldier called family early Monday to say her husband kidnapped her, drove her to Nevada and then came back to El Paso to turn himself in.
“He took her into Nevada,” Pigeon said. “She said she’s in shock. She’s got two big holes in her legs and she lost of a lot of blood.”
Army officials at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, the Fort Bliss hospital, said the soldier had been treated and released.
“I was just so excited last night to her voice,” Pigeon said. “She has bumps and bruises all over.”
The soldier, a mother of three, was reported missing Friday after failing to show up for work at Fort Bliss. When soldiers from her unit found her apartment locked and no one apparently inside, they called police.
Skelton said police told the family that the apartment was a wreck and blood was found inside.
The woman was planning to leave her husband of two years, Skelton said. The soldier sent her sister a series of text messages saying that Lewis had left and had even sent a picture that looked like it was taken from inside a Greyhound bus.
“She left him an envelope with money and a note telling him to leave and not to come back,” Skelton said. “She was so happy, saying he’s 400 miles away.”
By Wednesday afternoon, Skelton said, her sister believed Lewis was gone for good and started making plans to go back to her apartment and start over without him.
“Hey sis he’s gone so when my check comes I’m going to buy a futon,” the soldier wrote in the text message Wednesday, Skelton said. “Yeah, he’s gone. Had police go with me yesterday, it’s all clear.”
She was last heard from in a text message at 4:56 p.m.
Skelton said the pair met about six years ago at a Tennessee night club. At first, Lewis seemed charming and fun, but the relationship soon became tumultuous and, Skelton says, abusive.
“He was all charm and fun then I guess,” Skelton said. “He’s a very likable person. He could walk up to you and you’d think he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
The pair married about two years ago. Skelton said her sister was often terrified of Lewis but never made any complaints to police.
“She would never tell us the whole story,” Skelton said.
Skelton said she constantly urged her sister to leave Lewis.
“He told her that if she ever left him, he’d kill her. If he couldn’t have her, no one could,” Skelton said. “I’ve heard him say that myself, several times.”
Skelton said her sister joined the Army last year to get away from her husband and start a new life with her children.
The children have been living in Tennessee with the soldier’s mother. She planned to moved the children to Texas once she got a place to live on Fort Bliss.