A female Fort Bliss soldier survived being beaten and stabbed during a three-day ordeal in which her estranged husband allegedly kidnapped her, taking her as far as Las Vegas before she convinced him to return to Texas to turn himself in to police, authorities announced today.
"It was the best possible case for a horrible situation," Chris Mears, a spokesman for the El Paso Police Department, said at an afternoon news conference. "You have a woman that was viciously assaulted in her apartment and taken against her will, but is here today to tell us about it and can get on with her life."
Clinton Lewis, 34, allegedly attacked his wife, 29-year-old Pfc. Jeneesa Lewis, around 5:15 p.m. Thursday as she entered her apartment near the Texas military base, Mears said.
The disappearance recalled three other recent cases involving female soldiers, all of which ended tragically, but three days after she went missing, at around 6 p.m. Sunday, the pair walked into the El Paso Police Department.
"As far as coming back, she was able to convince him to come back," Mears said, describing Jeneesa Lewis as "alive and well."
Clinton Lewis was taken into custody and later charged with aggravated kidnapping. He remains held on $75,000 bond at the El Paso county jail, according to jail records. His arraignment has been scheduled for Tuesday, and it is unclear whether he has hired an attorney or whether federal prosecutors will consider additional charges against him, because he took his wife against her will across the state line.
The Associated Press, citing the charging affidavit, also reported that the soldier had been raped by her husband. In an interview with ABCNews.com after the news conference, Mears declined to discuss the reported sexual assault, citing department policy. Mears did say, however, that under Texas law, sexual and physical assaults are both possible triggers for an aggravated kidnapping charge.
Jeneesa Lewis was interviewed by authorities and then treated for injuries at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss, and released, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed to ABCNews.com.
Authorities say Lewis was waiting for his wife inside her apartment last Thursday evening and kicked her in the face as she walked through the door. He allegedly stabbed her at least twice in the legs with a kitchen knife and threatened to kill her before putting her in his truck and fleeing.
The alleged abductor then drove about 650 miles to Las Vegas, where they checked into a motel. Sometime Saturday night, Mears said, Jeneesa convinced her husband to return to El Paso, and the pair boarded a Texas-bound bus.
Jeneesa was reported missing Friday after the mother of three -- including a 4-year-old son she had with Lewis -- failed to show up for work at Fort Bliss and fellow soldiers went to her apartment to look for her. The unit was locked and police were called. Authorities forced their way into the apartment and found blood stains and evidence of a struggle.
"We were concerned on this one because of what we saw in the apartment," Mears said.
Police quickly announced that, in addition to Jeneesa Lewis, they were seeking the soldier's husband, who was already wanted in Tennessee on a warrant for not paying back child support. His criminal history there includes several assault and domestic violence-related arrests.