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Woman held hostage in closet for months by boyfriend in Tennessee

Police lights. (Dreamstime/TNS)
March 22, 2023

Officers responding to a call reported of a potential domestic violence disturbance in Dyersburg, Tennessee on March 11 ended up offering assistance and aid to a criminal kidnapping, hostage and abuse victim. 

The victim, identified only as a 40-year-old woman who was visibly underweight and suffering cuts to her face, was found hiding under new constriction when officers arrived. 

She informed police that her boyfriend, Brenton Bell, 30, had forced her into the closet of an abandoned home approximately two months prior.  He kept her there by locking the door, providing minimal food, while only allowing her to exit for an hour a day. 

Responding officers were able to locate the home on Ayers Street. Once inside, police found evidence that collaborated her story.

READ MORE: US citizen freed after being held hostage 6 years in Nigeria

The victim was transported to West Tennessee Healthcare Dyersburg, where she was treated and released. Officials have connected her with further domestic violence services to aid her in recovery.  

Dyersburg police began a city-wide search for Bell, releasing a statement to the public seeking assistance in apprehending the suspect. 

Bell, who states he was employed by Dyersburg Pallett on social media, was apprehended on March 15, and is currently in custody on unspecified charges. 

Individuals who need assistance with domestic violence are encouraged to contact the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or by texting ‘start’ to 88788.

In another hostage situation, an American aid worker in West Africa was released earlier this year, more than six years after terrorists captured him in Niger.

Announcing the release of the aid worker, Jeffery Woodke, on Twitter, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said he was “gratified and relieved.”

“The U.S. thanks Niger for its help in bringing him home to all who miss & love him. I thank so many across our government who’ve worked tirelessly toward securing his freedom,” Sullivan said.