News & Info
Man arrested for holding neighbor captive in backyard pit
A man in Ohio with a history of mental illness was arrested early Wednesday after a woman was found trapped in a pit in a shed in his back yard, police said.
Dennis Dunn, 45, of Blanchester, was arrested after police responded to his home following a neighbor’s report of cries and screams from the backyard shed. The woman, a neighbor, who was found inside the hole — more than 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide — was unable to speak when she was pulled out, WLWT reports.
The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment and later released. Her mother reported her missing just hours before she was found in the hole, which was covered with wood and other heavy objects, WLWT reports.
The pit also was covered by a heavy wooden board, making it impossible for the victim to escape, WXIX reports.
Dunn, who was charged with one count of kidnapping, eventually came out of the home after four hours, walking out the front door “like he was going for a stroll,” investigators told WLWT.
Dunn was arrested earlier this month on charges of disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana after he called police four times to claim he was hearing voices and that people were trying to break into his home. Police Chief Scott Reinbolt said the incident highlighted the flaws in the state’s mental health system, the Wilmington Journal News reports.
“Each time an officer checked the home and surrounding area and found no one about,” Reinbolt told the newspaper.
On the fourth call to police on April 6, a responding officer reported smelling marijuana inside the home.
“Dunn told the officer that he smokes marijuana to help calm his nerves, then volunteered that he also grows it inside the house for his personal use, asserting his belief that growing marijuana under such circumstances is legal in Ohio,” Reinbolt said. “In a bedroom of the residence the officer found several small, potted marijuana plants. The plants were seized … Contrary to Dunn’s assertion, growing marijuana, even for personal use, remains illegal in Ohio.”
Reinbolt said it was unfortunate that Dunn was released from a mental health hospital within 24 hours.
“It would appear to me that Mr. Dunn is in need of some sort of psychiatric treatment,” Reinbolt said.
Reinbolt noted that Ohio has closed most of its inpatient mental health facilities during the past few decades, leaving few options for those who need help.
“Unfortunately, I am convinced that doing so has left individuals like Mr. Dunn without the care and treatment they need and deserve,” he said.