SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A fifth woman has come forward to say she was kidnapped, raped and held captive for 10 months in a man's underground dungeon in suburban Syracuse (search), authorities said Monday.
The 50-year-old woman was chained to a heavy metal grate for the first three months and was sexually abused every day of her captivity, Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh said.
"I cried and prayed every day I was in captivity," she said in a statement read by Walsh. "But I never cried in front of him again after he slapped me so hard that he injured my ear."
"I did everything he asked, hoping he would release me," said the latest victim. "I tried to be friendly to him and make him laugh so that he would let me live. ... I did not want to die down in those rooms because no one would ever find my body, and my soul would remain in a cold place."
The suspect, John Jamelske (search), 67, has been jailed without bail on charges of kidnapping, rape, sodomy and sexual abuse. He was arrested April 7 for allegedly holding a 16-year-old girl hostage for nearly seven months in a two-room concrete bunker he built under his back yard.
The two small rooms contained a small tub, a bucket for a toilet, a microwave oven and a mattress.
Jamelske's attorney, J. Michael Forsyth, declined comment.
Police, believing there are other victims, released photos of Jamelske for the first time Monday. His image had not been released earlier to avoid tainting the recollections of the identified victims.
Police said one of the victims was held captive for more than two years.
Investigators are looking at a broader pool of potential victims since the latest alleged victim is older. The others, according to investigators, were three teens and a young woman.
"It appears the focus of his attention was women, all women," prosecutor William Fitzpatrick said. "Beyond that there's no racial consistency. There's no age consistency. There's just gender consistency."
The latest alleged victim, who does not speak English as a first language, first reported her case to police after she was released at the Syracuse bus station. Recently, she related her captivity to a friend, who contacted police.
Police interviewed the woman again and she provided investigators with an accurate description of Jamelske and the dungeon, Walsh said.
Investigators were checking on what happened to her original report, prosecutor William Fitzpatrick said.
"We are trying to ascertain exactly what she said and whether it was followed up on," he said.