Police: Woman Narrowly Escapes Husband's Violent Attack - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Police: Woman Narrowly Escapes Husband's Violent Attack

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By Adam Ghassemi

WESTMORELAND, Tenn. It could happen in any home in any town, but Tuesday night it happened on Wagoners Way.

Westmoreland Police Chief K.D. Smith says Robert Lauderdale agreed for his wife to stop by to collect items for their children, but lost control. The couple is separated, with a divorce pending.

"When she entered the residence, our understanding is that's when everything started," Smith said.

Police say Lauderdale forced her into a closet, tied her up and got out a knife that cut her during a struggle.

That was just the beginning of it.

He also used fentanyl patches on her back to drug her and put a rifle to her head, saying when she fell asleep he would kill her, but that's when investigators say she did something that probably saved her life.

"She made the comment that if he would let her out they both could go get their children and come back to the residence," Smith said of the woman who played along like she was intoxicated.

Investigators say Lauderdale agreed to take separate cars. When she was finally alone she called for help.

Smith says Lauderdale faces aggravated domestic violence assault, and especially aggravated kidnapping. He spent the minimum 12 hours in jail before making a $100,000 bond.

The chief said that minimum time in custody should be upped for violent crimes.

"It's a power control issue," said Sherry Tolli with Gallatin-based HomeSafe, which works with victims of domestic violence.

Tolli agrees the woman made a smart move by defusing the situation, but the fact that Lauderdale got out of jail so soon means she's still in danger.

"The reality is if they're going to hurt you, they're going to hurt you," Tolli said. "So this woman is not safe. He's back on the street and he may listen to the courts. He may listen to the judges. He may listen to court orders. But he might not either."

It's why the people at HomeSafe urges victims to understand the signs and know to ask for help.

Smith says this case could have easily been a very different type of crime.

"It's fortunate that this didn't go to the next level," he said.

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