On Feb. 3, the woman, 37, told police she was walking on Washington Avenue about 9:15 p.m. when her ex-boyfriend ran up behind her and shoved her into a wall. He hit her on the back and in the chest before running away when she fought back, according to a police report.
When she reported the incident to police Friday, armed with 16 threatening text messages that she said her ex-boyfriend has sent to her, she told police that she’s been trying to escape him ever since they broke up three years ago.
She showed them text messages in which her ex-boyfriend told her he would kill her and wrote, “I’m gonna carve you up. I can’t wait,” according to the report.
The woman told police that she was in a 10-year relationship with the man when they lived in Baltimore. After they broke up in 2011, she told police he began following her as she moved across the country. He was allegedly calling and texting her threatening messages as he did so.
According to the report, the woman said she moved to Mansfield, Alaska and Lorain and changed her name in an attempt to escape her ex-boyfriend. She showed police documentation, including an old passport, with her previous name as evidence of her attempts to escape, according to the report.
This is not the first time she has said her ex-boyfriend found and assaulted her.
In May 2012, the woman was living in Mansfield and told Mansfield police that he broke into her home and beat her up. According to a report, the woman, living under her original name at the time, left her house in Mansfield to put the trash on the curb outside on May 29, 2012. When she came back inside, she saw her ex-boyfriend whom she said she hadn’t seen for a year, standing in her house, according to the report. She told Mansfield police that her ex-boyfriend beat her and kicked her before leaving and warning her he would be back.
Mansfield police investigated the incident and called in the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force to help them find the ex-boyfriend, according to Dennis O’Brian of the task force.
He was found in New Jersey in August 2012 and taken back to Richland County, where he was charged with aggravated robbery that October. The case was dismissed that same month in Richland County Municipal Court.
After the woman filed the report last week, police began searching for the ex-boyfriend but have not yet found him.
“There is no reason to disbelieve her story,” Lorain police Capt. Roger Watkins said. He added that the woman has relocated since the incident.
Charges have not been filed in the case.
The woman was not available for comment Tuesday.
Virginia Beckman, director of the Genesis House Domestic Violence Shelter, said it is rare for a stalking incident to reach such extreme levels where the perpetrator follows the victim around the country.
“It’s an effort to demonstrate an omnipotence. It’s an effort to psychologically torture the victim,” Beckman said. She said the key in these cases is for the victim to figure out how someone could be tracking her for years. “People who have ill intent can be at the cutting edge of technology.”
For Debbie Riddle, a stalking awareness advocate whose sister was killed by a stalker, it’s the smaller incidents of assault and menacing that police need to be aware of.
“These little incidents escalate over time,” Riddle said, adding that it’s important for victims of stalking to record and report every minor stalking instance and to do everything they can to avoid their stalker to protect themselves. “There is no line you can draw that they will not cross.”