CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Fayette County woman escaped her kidnapper and walked more that an hour Christmas Day to find help, deputies said.
Authorities were searching Thursday for Larry Nelson, 36, of Meadowbridge, in connection with the kidnapping of Betty Burns, 38, of Spring Dale.
Deputies were dispatched about 8 p.m. Wednesday to a home in the Spring Dale area where a kidnapped woman had sought refuge.
Burns told deputies she had an argument Wednesday afternoon with her boyfriend, Nelson, at their home, according to a statement by the Fayette Sheriff's Office. She said Nelson struck her on the back of the head when she tried to leave, and then tied her feet and hands together before gagging her with a sock and handkerchief.
Nelson then drove her to a strip mine near Spring Dale Church Road and shoved her out of the vehicle while she was still tied up. Burns was able to free her legs and walked through the woods for more than an hour before she came to a house.
Paramedics examined Burns for injuries Wednesday. Her condition Thursday was unknown. Deputies took the rope and other items used to bind her as evidence.
Officers searched for Nelson Wednesday evening without any luck.
"While incidents of domestic violence are, unfortunately, far too common, when you tie someone up and abandon them in a remote wooded area -- particularly given the cold weather conditions that were prevalent yesterday -- it creates life threatening situation," Fayette Sheriff Steve Kessler said in the statement.
"Had Ms. Burns been unable to free her feet and walk through the woods in an effort to seek assistance, it is quite possible that she could have died from exposure and hypothermia. Had that occurred we would be seeking Nelson on a murder charged instead of the crimes of which he currently stands accused."
A warrant for Nelson's arrest charges him with domestic battery and felony kidnapping.
Anyone with information can contact the Fayette County 911 Center at 304-574-3590 or Crime Stoppers at 304-255-7867. Tips may also be submitted through the department's Facebook page under "Fayette County Sheriff's Department," or through the department website at www.fayettesheriffwv.net.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4850.