Man accused of abducting ex-girlfriend

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BRATTLEBORO — During a 911 call Wednesday, dispatchers with the Brattleboro Police Department could hear a woman screaming and the sounds of a struggle in the background.

Despite their efforts, dispatchers couldn't understand what the caller was saying, before it was abruptly cut off. Dispatchers tried to call the phone back, but no one answered. However, police were able to identify the owner of the phone and where the owner was staying, which was a local shelter.

Police went to the shelter and talked to the shelter's office manager, who led them to the cell phone owner's room only to find it was empty. The manager told police that he last saw the woman occupying the room an hour before the police arrived at the shelter.

The woman had told him that she was going on a first date with a man she met recently.

The manager said he had seen the woman return from the date, and had seen the vehicle of the man who was later taken into custody and charged with kidnapping, second degree aggravated domestic assault and interference with access to emergency services.

On Thursday, Walter Taylor, 25, of Brattleboro was arraigned in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division.

Taylor is the victim's ex-boyfriend. The office manager said that he feared for the woman's safety if Taylor found out that she went on a date with another man, according to court documents.

Prior to the arrest of Taylor on Wednesday, Officer Sean Wilson phoned Taylor's mother and told her he wanted to speak with her son. Shortly after, Wilson got a phone call from Taylor himself, who admitted he had kidnapped the victim and that she needed medical attention, according to court documents. Taylor and the victim were waiting in the parking lot of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital when he made the call. Police arrived and Taylor was taken into custody.

During the investigation, the woman told police that she was walking near the Marlboro College Graduate Center when Taylor offered her a ride. She didn't want to get into the car with Taylor because she was scared of him and she had parole conditions to stay away from him. She told police that Taylor physically forced her into the car. She fought him and tried to get away but couldn't. During the altercation, the victim's hand was broken. She told police she tried to escape while Taylor was driving, but Taylor ran through red lights to keep her in the vehicle. Then he took her cell phone so she couldn't call for help. She said she snatched it back as soon as he put it down, and was able to reach dispatch. Once Taylor saw that she was calling the police he wrestled her for the phone. Eventually, Taylor succeeded in getting the phone and he told the victim something to the effect of, "I'll [expletive] kill you," then he hung up the phone.

The woman said that Taylor took her to a motel where they met up with Taylor's parents. While there the victim said Taylor pulled her hair and threw her to the ground because she tried to escape again. Taylor then drove her to the Brattleboro Police Department and threatened to turn her in for violating her parole before finally going to the hospital because of her injuries.

Taylor told police that he had been "reminiscing about the life he and [the victim] had had together." Probation and Parole, "screwed up," their relationship, he said. He told police he was driving around to locations that he and the victim had visited together, and eventually, saw the victim and approached her. He asked her to get into the vehicle and when she said no he grabbed her and forced her into the vehicle. Taylor told police he remembers driving around town with the victim in his vehicle. When she tried calling for help he took her phone and threw it onto the driver's side floorboard. He said he blacked out after that. He also said the victim kept telling him about her injuries and then he "finally came to his senses." That's when he decided to drive the victim to BMH and called the police.

At his arraignment, Taylor's attorney, Leah Henderson, asked that Taylor be allowed bail. She said that Taylor was from Vermont and had never left the state. His mother, she said, also lives in Vermont and could watch over Taylor.

"We believe there are precautions that would protect the victim," she said.

Deputy State's Attorney Steve Brown insisted that given the victim's injury and the severity of Taylor's charges, that he needed to be held without bail. Brown also said that Taylor had a previous incident with another victim where he had violated an abuse prevention order.

Judge Michael Kainen ordered that Taylor be held without bail.

Harmony Birch can be reached at hbirch@reformer.com, at @Birchharmony on Twitter and 802-254-2311, Ext. 153.

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