Friday, May 23, 2008

Texas granny raped, beaten, pushed into well

An 18 year old registered sex offender is being held on $167,500 bond after being charged with kidnapping, raping, beating, then throwing a 63 year old woman into a well, where she was miraculously found by her grandson then rescued 16 hours later.

Henderson County Sheriff officials said Joshua James Cannon, 18, has been formerly charged with aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and felon in possession of a firearm.

Cannon was sent to the Texas Youth Commission for molesting a 5 year old girl and registered as a sex offender last Wednesday.

"The investigation is continuing so we don't know all the charges the investigators will charge him with," McWilliams said.

The ordeal started after Cannon asked to use the woman’s phone. He said his truck had broken down, and called a number, but got an answering machine. He came back again, this time, with a rifle, and aimed it at her head.

"I tried to shut the door, but he grabbed it and ripped it from my hands. I ran toward the front door, but he caught me and hit me with the butt of the gun which knocked me to the floor," she said.

As she tried to escape, the man continually asked if she had a debit card while beating her.

"He took my purse and just kept asking if I had an ATM card. I just asked him to take the purse and leave but he wouldn't leave me. I begged and begged to stay here, but he wouldn't let me," she said. Despite her injuries, Cannon allegedly grabbed the woman up off the floor and forced her outside to her car.

"He pushed me in the car and told me if I tried to jump out that he would kill me. I didn't know what to do," she said.

The woman said Cannon kept saying the ordeal was some type of gang-related initiation and that he was being watched, but she never saw anyone.

Cannon passed her son’s home twice, with the woman, while holding her puppy, wondering if she was going to see him or other family members alive again.

"I just kept thinking of something to do, but I couldn't. I just kept thinking 'Oh God."

Less than two miles from her house was a path into a wooded area where the concrete well stands -- a well with a narrow top protruding from the earth about three feet and the base ballooning out into a cistern 20 feet below.

According to the woman, the perpetrator gave her three choices – being shot, strangled, or pushed down into the well. Cannon decided to push her down the well, where she bounced off the sides before resting at the water filled bottom.

"I don't remember how I fell, but I remember being scared and cold. I don't know why he left but soon he was gone," she said.

As the woman fought shock, hallucinations and the cold for hours on end, her family began looking for her after hearing a voicemail from the Seagoville Police Department on her cell phone.
The woman's daughter said she had gone by her mother's home and saw a chair out of place and thought it was odd her mother was not home.

However, it would be several hours before the daughter went back to the home and saw her mother's cell phone sitting on a table with the message about her car.

Henderson County Sheriff's Lt. Pat McWilliams said Seagoville police found the suspect and a 15 year old juvenile, who Cannon picked up after he pushed the woman into the well. The police seized the car, but let both go.

Meanwhile, the woman’s family started calling police and searching for their matriarch after the Seagoville police called the victim’s daughter about the stolen car.

The son, familiar with the area of the well because of previous ATV riding, sent his son, the victim’s grandson to the well just in case she was there.

"I don't know why my brother thought to look there, but he sent my nephew and he found his grandmother down in the well," the victim's daughter said.

The victim said at first she thought she was dreaming that her grandson was looking down at her, but then other family members and neighbors began gathering around the well.

"I heard him saying grandma and I just started crying and thanking God. I knew that God had saved me," she said.

But it would take firefighters with the Gun Barrel City Fire Department to safely retrieve her from what had been her prison for a day.

The victim's daughter said firefighters originally tried a ladder, but it didn't work so they lowered a firefighter down to help the beaten woman out.

"Seeing (the firefighter) I thought he just looked good," she said.

The victim was taken to Tyler, where she was treated for dehydration, brusies and a broken nose. Currently, the woman is living with relatives, but her future plans are unclear.

I don't want to move, but then I don't want to be alone right now. I hope that (Cannon) gets the punishment he deserves."

"God let me know with this that miracles do happen."

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