Sheriff: Kidnap victim held in 'house of horrors'



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Posted on March 14, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 15 at 4:49 PM

CORSICANA — Authorities searched all over for a Parker County woman whose home burned to the ground earlier this month.

They found her about 100 miles away in Corsicana, where she had been held captive.

Investigators were still hauling out possible evidence Monday morning... and still reeling from what they found in a small lake house near the Navarro County seat.

As they questioned Jeffrey Maxwell on Saturday about the missing woman, she ran out of the house — screaming.

"All of a sudden the door burst open, and she came rushing out screaming, 'I'm here! I'm here!'" Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said.

He said it appears that Maxwell kidnapped and then tortured the 62-year-old woman for 13 days.

"I hope I never see it again," Fowler said grimly. "To me, it was a house of horrors."

According to affidavits, Maxwell confessed to kidnapping the woman on March 1, admitting he "...struck [victim] several times with his fist and with an 'rolling pin' from her house" when she began to fight back.

Maxwell said he then took the victim to his garage and "...strung her up in a homemade device used for skinning deer." This pulled her up off the ground.

"And he has, by the way, admitted to all of this," Fowler said.

The sheriff said Maxwell returned to Parker County two days after the abduction and burned the victim's house down.

A neighbor got a good look at his car, which investigators matched up to Maxwell, a man who used to live near the kidnapped woman, and was remembered for harassing her several years ago.

"It's a shocker," said Teddy Robinson, a neighbor of the suspect. "I would have never dreamed that something like this could happen next door."

Jeffrey Maxwell's neighbors called him a "loner." But how could they suspect anything like this? Especially since his picture was just in the local newspaper as vice-president of the local Kiwanis club?

That means Maxwell met regularly with other Kiwanis members and community leaders, including the Navarro County Sheriff.

Maxwell is charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault.

The victim was treated and released from the hospital but Sheriff Fowler said she remains extremely traumatized.