Washington husband suspected of burying wife alive over retirement money in divorce: victim
Chae An is accused of dragging his estranged wife Young An out of her Washington home and burying her alive in the woods
As a Washington man allegedly dragged his estranged wife out of her house earlier this month, hogtied with duct tape, he told her "he would rather kill her than give her his retirement money" before burying her alive in the woods, she later told detectives according to court documents.
Young and Chae An are going through a messy divorce, records show, and at one point, she had a restraining order against him that had been rescinded before the alleged abduction.
Young An, 42, told police that her 53-year-old husband had threatened to kill her in the past when he was angry – but she hadn’t taken them seriously before. Then on Oct. 16, he allegedly beat her up, bound her by the hands, legs and mouth, threw her in his van and drove her to a clearing in the woods outside town.
Now, she says, she’s terrified and has asked the judge to deny bail.
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On the day of the alleged crime, Young An came home from church with her two children, and Chae An’s vehicle was in her driveway. It wasn't unusual for him to be there – he dropped by once a week to do laundry, according to court documents.
But then an argument broke out. At one point, Chae An allegedly left Young An tied up and walked out of the room. She was able to use her Apple Watch to alert a friend and her children and call 911. Despite a makeshift gag around her mouth, she screamed for help, prompting the dispatcher to send officers. However, they arrived after Chae An allegedly smashed the watch with a hammer and dragged her out of the home.
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Once the watch was broken, he allegedly hit her wrists too, prosecutors alleged in the document.
READ THE PROBABLE CAUSE STATEMENT:
The friend, who arrived at Young An’s home after police, told them the mother of two had previously said Chae An had threatened her by allegedly warning, "I’m not going down alone," and that the couple had a history of domestic violence.
Young An, after escaping a shallow grave hours later and fleeing through the woods to a home where the residents called 911, told police her husband dragged her into his van, then drove her to the woods about seven miles from her home in Lacey.
He allegedly tossed her in a small hole – just 19 inches deep – and covered her with dirt and a fallen tree and stabbed her breasts.
She said she remained there for hours, struggling to breathe, and after sundown scrambled out and fled.
She ran toward distant headlights and knocked on someone’s front door to beg for help.
They called police, and she told responding deputies that Chae An had driven her into the woods, placed a "heavy tree" over her and threw dirt over her. After waiting hours for a chance to escape, she told police that she clawed her way out of her bindings and the shallow hole, then stumbled through the woods for about a half-hour before she banged on a residential door and begged for help.
When police arrived, she was cowering behind a shed on the property, clearly in distress, according to investigators.
"When Young realized the deputy was law enforcement, she sprinted at them, screaming and crying for help," according to the probable cause statement. "She grabbed onto the deputy frantically and said, 'My husband is trying to kill me. Help me."
Young An had "extensive" bruising all over her body, was covered in dirt and had duct tape hanging from her neck, face and ankles, according to the document.
Chae An was arrested about six hours later near his vehicle in the woods. He has a firearms review hearing scheduled for Thursday, however prosecutors say he has signed a declaration indicating he doesn’t own any.
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His arraignment is set for Nov. 1. He is being held without bail on charges of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree domestic violence kidnapping and first-degree domestic violence assault.
The number listed for Young An was disconnected Monday, and she did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.