A West Virginia man is in custody after authorities say his wife made a desperate escape to a family crisis center after suffering a decade of abuse that included torture and being locked in chains.
A criminal complaint says the 43-year-old victim was burned on her back and breasts with irons and frying pans, and her foot was smashed under farm equipment. She also allegedly delivered a stillborn child while in chains. She also gave birth to another infant who survived.
Peter Lizon, 37, of Leroy was arrested and held in the South Central Regional Jail on $300,000 bond Wednesday. He's set to appear on a malicious wounding charge Friday in Jackson County Magistrate Court.
On June 18, while the wife, suspect and their infant were returning a rented farming machine and she walked away from the family, the criminal complaint said. She sought refuge in a nearby zomba dance facility and hid from her husband, before seeking transportation to a family crisis center, the complaint said.
Police described the crisis center as a refuge for battered women, among other uses.
Much of the criminal complaint is based on an alleged conversation his wife had with a certified nursing assistant while the two were at the crisis center in the town of Parkersburg. The two allegedly spent the entire night talking about the wife’s life of torment.
Lizon’s lawyer, Shawn Bayless, said his client denies all the allegations and called facts in the criminal complaint a result of a "fertile imagination."
"She's never sought a protective order and she's always been by his side," Bayless said, talking about Lizon’s wife. "The entire criminal complaint started with a small nugget of information and turned into a giant tree of untruth."
The nursing assistant said she noticed severe burns on the woman’s back and breasts and bruising all over her body, according to the criminal complaint. The injuries she observed sickened her, the complaint said.
The alleged victim told her about her husband, Lizon, who was originally from the former Czechoslovakia, and how he locked her in chains and metal padlocks for about 10 years, the complaint said. The wife allegedly told the woman that she had scar tissue as a result of the bondage chains.
She spoke about being treated as a slave and how every time her husband would enter a room, she would have to kneel in front of him, the complaint said, at which point he would stomp on her feet.
Upon learning about the conversation, authorities obtained a search warrant and were able to take 45 color images of injuries to the woman, the complaint said.
Many pictures mentioned in the complaint appear to support the nursing assistant’s memory of bruises on the woman’s body.
Tony J. Boggs, Jackson County’s chief deputy sheriff office, told FoxNews.com that Lizon was arrested without incident on July 5. Boggs said the case may be challenging because the information was provided by an independent witness and not the alleged victim.
Still, in an earlier interview, he described the injuries as "much more than just getting pushed up against the wall. She's been abused almost to the point of slavery and torture."
When asked about the pictures of injuries to the woman’s back, Bayless, his attorney, said pictures are not indicative of how the injuries occurred.