PITTSBURGH – A woman who was kidnapped at gunpoint by her husband while he was under home confinement on charges he beat and abducted her two months earlier was found dead inside a barn, and he was hospitalized with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, state police said Wednesday.
Police found the couple Tuesday night after searching most of the day for them. Tierne Ewing, 48, was abducted from a home in West Finley Township by Kevin Ewing at about 12:30 a.m., authorities said, and the car they'd been in was found abandoned near a wooded area eight hours after that.
By 9 p.m., police surrounded a barn several miles from where the woman was abducted. After forcing their way in, police found Tierne Ewing dead of an apparent gunshot wound and her husband with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Kevin Ewing, 47, was taken to a hospital, and no information on his condition was released. The Washington County coroner hasn't formally ruled on her death.
The case has raised questions about the way authorities handled charges pending against Kevin Ewing, who was out on bond awaiting trial on charges he abducted her and held her captive from June 26 to July 8.
Tierne Ewing told police her husband beat and pistol-whipped her, spat on her, kept her hands tied with wire and branded her legs with a piece of hot metal, according to a criminal complaint charging him with kidnapping, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, false imprisonment and other crimes.
Tierne Ewing had staples closing a cut on her head — a home remedy, not hospital-administered — that she told police was caused when her husband hit her with a wooden gun stock. She escaped when her husband sent her into a credit union to withdraw money. She told tellers she was being held captive and they called police, who arrested Kevin Ewing in a vehicle outside, armed with a rifle, handgun and knife.
When he unexpectedly posted $100,000 bond on July 11, a prosecutor asked a judge to put him back in jail given the seriousness of the offenses, Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said.
The (Washington) Observer-Reporter said Common Pleas Judge Gary Gilman didn't raise the bond amount but did order Ewing to be confined to his home without weapons and made him wear an electronic ankle bracelet.
The newspaper reported the judge had ordered that the bracelet have GPS capabilities to track Ewing's movements, though adult probation officials have told The Associated Press the device was only programmed to alert authorities if Ewing left his home. Authorities couldn't immediately resolve that discrepancy Wednesday.
Trooper Stefani Plume has said Ewing cut off the ankle device and left it at home before abducting his wife Tuesday.
Tierne Ewing's father said Kevin Ewing had harmed his daughter numerous times.
"She was scared to death of him. He threatened her all the time, and he beat her up several times," Richard Kopko said after authorities told him his daughter was dead. "July wasn't the worst. She's been beat so bad before."
"She told me years ago, 'Dad, if you can't ever find me, I'll be buried on his dad's farm,'" Kopko said.
Police have not yet charged Ewing in his wife's death.