The Emergency Response Team was in action Wednesday after a woman escaped a man holding her captive. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

UPDATE: One man arrested after woman found badly beaten, handcuffed in Herd Road area

Man who helped thought at first that she was wearing a Halloween mask

A contractor working on a home in the Lakes and Herd roads area of the Cowichan Valley on April 11 was shocked when he saw what looked like a person wearing a Halloween mask at the patio door just after noon.

The contractor, who asked to only be called John, said it quickly became obvious that the figure was a women who was in great distress.

He said the woman’s face was so badly beaten, and her eyes so swollen shut that he couldn’t even tell what race she was.

“She said she wanted to go to her mother’s house in Cowichan Bay, but I said she should go to the hospital right away,” John said.

“I could hear the terror in her voice and she was shaking so much that she was vibrating. She insisted on going to her mother’s so I told her to get in my van and I would take her either to her mother’s home or the hospital.”

John said that’s when he first noticed that the woman was wearing handcuffs, and was apparently trying to hide them from him.

She then told him that she was held against her will in a nearby house for three days where she was beaten.

“Her captor told her that he intended to make an example of her,” John said.

“She told me that she escaped after asking her captor if she could take a shower. She then managed to crawl through the bathroom’s window and made her way across a number of fields before ending up at the house where I was working.”

John said that he called the police after placing the woman in his van, and a police car met him a few blocks away.

“Within minutes, there were about 11 police cars and an ambulance there,” he said.

“The woman was quickly taken away in the ambulance. The police took a statement from me, but I don’t know what has happened since then. The whole incident really shook me up.”

Cpl. Krista Hobday, a spokeswoman for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, acknowledged that police located a women requiring immediate medical attention for treatment of serious facial injuries, and BC Ambulance Service personnel attended the scene.

She said local RCMP, with the assistance of the Emergency Response Team, took a 52-year-old man into custody at approximately 6 p.m. on April 12.

The man remains in police custody and appeared before a Justice on April 13.

Police are recommending numerous charges against the man, including forcible confinement and aggravated assault.

Hobday said the suspect and the woman are known to each other, and members of the public are not at risk.

“Police have been present at the scene around the clock gathering evidence to support these allegations,” she said. “Cowichan Valley RCMP Victim Services have been involved from the beginning and are available to anyone who feels they may benefit from speaking with them.”

The RCMP ask if anyone has information on this or any other crime, to contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

While in the area dealing with this case, the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team also assisted local police on a weapons call on Marsh Road on April 11.

A man was reported to have a rifle and to be making threats to injure another man.

There were four people in the residence when police arrived.

“After all was sorted out, one man will face weapons charges, but no threats were believed to have been made,” Hobday said.

Hobday said a 30-year-old Duncan man was released from police custody and he will face a judge in June, charged with unauthorized possession of a firearm and possession of a prohibited weapon.