The mysterious Texas woman who sparked a massive search when she was seen on video ringing a stranger’s doorbell in a T-shirt and shackles is defending the man who allegedly sexually assaulted her and caused her to flee.
The anonymous woman, a 32-year-old from Dallas, told local outlet KTRK in a statement on Sunday that she broke free from wrist restraints and escaped to her neighbor’s home in Montgomery, Texas, last month because she was “in a lot of fear.”
“I don’t want to get into any of the specifics of that evening, other than to say that I was in a lot of fear for my safety,” she said.
Authorities ended a five-day search for the woman last Wednesday when they confirmed her identity and found her 49-year-old boyfriend, Dennis Ray Collins, dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound in his home.
The woman told police she’d been sexually assaulted and had broken out of the bondage cuffs used to restrain her.
She fled to her neighbors, ringing two doorbells before returning to the home she lived in with Collins when no one answered — though he wasn’t home, she said. Then she jumped in a car and fled to the Dallas area.
But the woman said she didn’t blame Collins, who, according to authorities, left a note admitting “what he did to her.”
“It is truly difficult to understand the duality that exists within each of us. People would like to paint Dennis or myself as entirely good or entirely evil, light or dark, every human has both of these inside,” she said.
“It is hard to understand how someone who treated me with such kindness is the person I saw that night.”
She also said she forgave her boyfriend “long before he was gone.”
“I know he too forgave and loved me,” she said. “I know I will fall short daily, but I hope to continue to choose to be loved. And I hope that for us all.”
The woman said she wasn’t aware of the video showing her ringing a doorbell — or the massive search it triggered until she spoke to police on Wednesday.
By TAMAR LAPIN