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Woman Escapes From Kidnapper Who Tortured Her With Butane Torch During Horrific Assault

Philippi, WV – A West Virginia man is behind bars after allegedly kidnapping and torturing a woman at a Philippi residence last week.

Philippi Police Department (PPD) officers responded to a home on Lander Road on Jan. 24 after receiving a report of a domestic disturbance, WBOY reported.

They arrived to find a badly-beaten woman whose eye “was swollen shut” hiding beneath the porch of a neighbor’s home, according to court documents.

The victim told police 47-year-old Sammy Martz held her against her will, threatened to kill her, and “burned her with a torch on her stomach and her leg,” investigators said.

She told police she finally managed to escape through a back window after four or five hours of torture, WBOY reported.

She then ran from the home and hid nearby.

The victim told investigators that Martz was still inside the house and that he had a gun, according to police.

She was rushed to Broaddus Hospital, where she told police that Martz had hit her “all over her body,” sat on her, and burned her with a butane torch during the horrific assault, WBOY reported.

PPD officers “converged on the residence” with the assistance of West Virginia State Police troopers and Barbour County Sheriff’s Department deputies, according to the criminal complaint.

They entered the home and announced themselves, at which point Martz emerged from a rear bedroom, WBOY reported.

He was arrested without further incident, according to police.

Officers said they also located a “substantial” quantity of methamphetamine, an unloaded gun, and cash inside the home, WDTV reported.

Investigators said Martz confessed in an interview that he harmed the victim by “striking her and burning her with a torch on at least three occasions,” according to WBOY.

Martz was booked into the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a charge of kidnapping.

Additional charges may be forthcoming, according to police.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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