Young An, the Washington mother of two who survived a violent attempted kidnapping last month, was seen shopping for Halloween candy as her estranged husband and suspected attacker pleaded not guilty to all counts this week.
Chae An, 53, faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree domestic violence kidnapping and first-degree domestic violence assault. He is being held without bail.
Appearing via Zoom in an orange prison jumpsuit, white long-sleeved undershirt and coronavirus face mask, Chae An spoke little, confirming his birth date for the judge.
His attorney, Patrick O'Connor, objected to media presence in the courtroom but was overruled by Judge Sharonda Amamilo.
The suspect allegedly duct-taped Young An, 42, by her hands and feet and dragged her out of her house on Oct. 16. At some point in the struggle, and despite a makeshift gag around her mouth, she was able to call 911 from her Apple Watch and send emergency alerts to a friend and her children, according to court documents.
But by the time police arrived, the couple were gone. Her watch had been broken, and they were on their way to a spot in the woods where he would allegedly stab her and throw her into a shallow grave.
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going through a messy divorce, records show, and at one point, she had a restraining order against him that had been rescinded before the alleged abduction. It had since become normal for him to drop by her home once a week to do laundry, according to court documents.
So, it wasn’t unusual when she arrived home with her two children from church and saw his car in the driveway.
But they got into an argument over money, Young An told police after her escape and rescue. Chae An allegedly told her "he would rather kill her than give her his retirement money."
She said her husband drove her to a forested area about seven miles from her home in Lacey, tossed her in a hole just 19 inches deep, threw dirt and a downed tree over her and stabbed her breasts, according to court documents.
She remained there for hours until she used the cover of darkness to sneak away. She saw distant headlights, ran toward the road and knocked on a door for help. The resident called 911 but apparently did not let her inside. A responding deputy found her hiding behind a shed.
"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.’"
Police found Chae An in the woods about six hours later. He has since been in custody.
Chae An is due back in court on Nov. 16.