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It was 12 days ago that three Saline County residents were arrested by Saline County Sheriff deputies for allegedly holding three women hostage inside a trailer in Alexander and beating them.
The father of one of the suspects told The Saline Courier that his son was wrongfully arrested and fears this incident could send 23-year-old Eli Wilson to prison.
As of press time, Eli Wilson, along with 33-year-old Tameria Moore of Alexander and 29-year-old David Lee, remain in the Saline County jail under $150,000 and $100,000 sheriff's bonds, respectively. Each is facing three counts of false imprisonment, three counts of second-degree battery and three counts of terroristic threatening.
"The fact is that my son and David Lee were not even at the trailer when all this took place," Benton resident Dave Wilson said. "They were there earlier that day, I mean it's Lee's home, but they left much earlier and even drove all over town before coming to my home."
According to a report from the Saline County Sheriff's Office, on Jan. 7 deputies responded to New Life Baptist Church in Alexander, where a woman, described as hysterical, said she escaped from a nearby trailer. The woman said her wrists had been zip-tied and that she had been brutally attacked. She said there were two other women in the same condition still back at the trailer.
The woman also told the officers that "if we don't get to their aid quickly, the three people carrying out these attacks will beat these women to death, as they have already threatened to do so."
Deputies found the trailer in question, which is the residence of Moore and Lee. The report said when deputies knocked on the door and yelled "Sheriff's Department," an "irrationally nervous" Moore came out of a back bedroom and was reluctant to say if anyone else was in the home.
The deputies reportedly entered the back room of the trailer, where they found two women with their wrists duct-taped together. The report said one woman had suffered multiple lacerations and contusions to her face, and the other woman had visible redness and swelling on her face.
Moore was taken into custody at the scene. Wilson and Lee were arrested at the home of Dave Wilson on the same day. On Jan. 9, in Benton District Court, one of the reported victims pointed at Wilson and said, "This is the guy who said he would kill us if we said his name. I'm saying he's dangerous, and I don't think none of the three should be let out."
The victim said that during the imprisonment at the home in Alexander, Lee had let her outside for a smoke and that is when she made her escape to the nearby church. Dave Wilson, however, said not only did his son Eli Wilson not threaten anyone, but that particular "victim" who spoke in court actually was one of the perpetrators.
"She lied to the police and lied in court," Dave Wilson said. "First, you have to understand that these girls are all on drugs and live from place to place. The girl that claimed my son threatened her actually did the abusing to the other girls. Now, I was told, and this is coming from one of the girls there, that David Lee did put duct tape on a girl, but then he left the home with my son. The guys never hit those girls."
He said the victim who ran to the church for help was never let out for a "smoke break" by David Lee and that she was never bound as she claimed to police.
According to Dave Wilson, one of the victims visited Wilson's home after being released from the hospital. She told Wilson that she had been bound and beaten by Moore and another woman.
s"She told me she was scared to tell the truth that night to the officers," Dave Wilson said. "You see they live by a street code in which it is very bad to snitch on someone. She's a small woman and the one that was actually blaming everything on my son and David Lee is what you call a big, rough character."
He added, "Besides, if (the victim who called police) was tied up, then why was she let out for a smoke break? That doesn't even make sense. Common sense should tell you that didn't happen."
Dave Wilson said the entire incident started because of accusations of theft. He said Moore believed the women had stolen from tools from her home. Wilson said the victim who called police was actually involved in the abuse.
"They had us tied up and our fear was great. The other day I felt I was as close to death as I could ever be," a victim said in court. "If I wouldn't have escaped, they would have killed us, all three of us. We were dead. They told us they would kill us."
Dave Wilson, however, said that the victim lied to the court and police. He said she has a history of crime, including theft, as well as involvement in a hostage/abuse crime Jan. 8 in Alexander.
"She stole from me too right before Christmas," Dave Wilson said of the victim that called police. "Not only does she need to be charged, but my son needs to be released from jail. His only involvement is that he was there earlier, but he wasn't there when all that abuse took place. Because of this he's got a parole hold and he could go to prison. For him and David Lee to have high bond because of her lying, it's not right."
He added, "I'll swear on the Bible and go to my grave telling you that this is the truth."
Lt. Scotty Courtney told the Courier that the investigation of the incident is continuing and the files on the arrest have been turned over to the Saline County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
Wilson, Lee and Moore are scheduled to appear in Benton District Court on Feb. 12, at which time they could enter a plea. If they plead not guilty, an appearance in Circuit Court is expected to be set.