Man arrested after pouring acid on woman: Sheriff’s Department

Posted at 10:46 AM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 19:22:01-04

GANGES TOWNSHIP, Mich. --  A 54-year-old woman is hospitalized after her boyfriend allegedly poured acid on her Wednesday morning.

Allegan County Sheriff's Department deputies were called to a home in the 1300 block of 66th Street in Ganges Township at about 2:30 a.m. after the victim ran to a neighbor's house for help after the attack.

Police say when she arrived back at her home the 53-year-old man tackled her and poured acid on her face and chest.

The man faces torture, home invasion and domestic violence charges.  Officials said he also damaged the woman's home before she arrived.

Carl Glenn Mears, the neighbor who called 911, told FOX 17 the two had moved into their house across the street a couple years ago. He said he woke to the woman, standing with her dog, banging on his door around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

“It wasn’t really raining outside but here she’s all wet, I wasn’t sure what was going on," said Mears.

"She was half crying, so I’m trying to hear what she’s saying. You could see the actual tint of her skin was changing colors, I mean it was nasty I wouldn’t want to see it again," he said.

When Mears called 911 dispatchers told them to get the victim into the shower, as first responders got to the house.

“She was having trouble seeing, we had to help her in the house, and she would talk but the fumes was getting to her, but she was still walking, she walked and got in the stretcher," said Mears.

Meanwhile, Mears said the suspect drove away in the victim's new car before police arrested the suspect Wednesday morning in Berrien County.

While Undersheriff Frank Baker said police have not responded to prior abuse between the couple, Sylvia's Place Executive Director Heather Forrest urges all victims to call for help at the first signs of abuse.

“The quicker you can make that decision and get out the better, which is why in our shelter we a lot of women and children that come in with nothing besides the clothes on their back because they had to escape immediately," said Forrest.

Forrest said safety planning, or having an escape plan is key: have items ready, a emergency bag packed, or have a safe word with friends or family so if you do get into trouble, you have a system to help you leave.

The extent of the woman's injuries is unclear at this time.

Baker said police believe the suspect also fled the scene with a handgun registered to the victim. The suspect also said unusual things to the victim, causing police to initially believe he would harm other family or himself. Baker said there are no other victims.

The suspect's name will be released pending formal arraignment Thursday.  Investigators say he's being charged as a habitual offender.

According to the Acid Survivors Trust International, acid attacks are massively underreported at about 1,500 attacks worldwide annually.

If you are being abused and need help, or know someone who does, you can call Sylvia's Place, an abuse shelter in Allegan, 24/7 at their crisis hotline: (269) 673-8700.