South Sound News

Docs: Lacey woman buried alive in shallow grave, manages to escape

A man whom police say kidnapped and buried alive his estranged wife in Lacey on Sunday was taken into custody after the woman escaped and a citizen found the man’s vehicle in the woods.

According to a police report, shortly before 1 a.m. on Monday, a deputy with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the 9900 block of Stedman Road Southeast.

The 911 caller said an unknown woman had shown up on her porch, screaming and crying that her husband was trying to kill her.

When the deputy arrived, the 911 caller told the deputy the woman was hiding behind a shed on their property.

The deputy approached the woman and shined his flashlight on her. When she recognized him as a deputy, the woman sprinted at him, screaming and crying for help.

“My husband is trying to kill me,” she said. “Help me.”

The deputy noted the woman had duct tape wrapped around her neck, lower face and ankles. Her clothing and hair were also covered with dirt.

The woman told the deputy who she was and identified herself as the victim of an abduction call on Sunday, involving an Asian male and female.

“My husband is still out in the woods somewhere!” she said.

The deputy noted the woman was in extreme distress and a state of trauma, having difficulty recalling what happened to her.

She said she had run through the woods for about 20 to 30 minutes before finding the house.

She said her husband, Chae An, had kidnapped her, tied her wrists, hands and ankles with duct tape and drove her out into the middle of the woods.

According to probable cause documents, the woman said she had been arguing with her husband Sunday afternoon at their home about an impending divorce and money.

The victim said her husband attacked her in their bedroom, punching her in the head multiple times, throwing her to the ground.

She said Chae An tied her arms behind her back with duct tape, with tape over her eyes, thighs and ankles.

The victim said as Chae An left the room momentarily, she was able to contact 911 with her Apple watch.

She said she could hear the 911 dispatcher talking, but she couldn’t communicate because of the duct tape over her mouth.

The victim said her husband then dragged her body down the hallway, down the stairs, to the front of the garage door.

When Chae An realized the victim had the Apple watch on, he smashed it with a hammer, striking her wrists as well.

She said she was thrown in a van, where she was driven around for a while.

The victim said she was taken out of the van and put on the ground, where she could hear Chae An digging in the dirt.

She said he stabbed her in the chest with a sharp object.

She recalled being dragged on the ground again, and put into a hole in the ground, where Chae An put a heavy tree on top of her and started to bury her in dirt.

The victim said she was able to wriggle around, to prevent the dirt from being in her face, but she had a hard time breathing.

She said she was in the grave for a few hours and when it was dark, she was able to wiggle her body to get the tape off her arms and legs.

When she took the tape off her eyes, not only was it now dark, but she saw the van was still there. The van windows were steaming and there was a light on inside.

The victim moved the tree off of her, got out of the hole and ran away from the scene.

Law enforcement later found the location she described, west of Rainier Road and south of Steadman Road. They found the hole, where there was duct tape among the loose dirt.

At 7:38 a.m., a citizen walking on a trail found Chae’s vehicle in the woods about 200 yards off Stedman Road. Thurston County deputies and Lacey officers quickly came to the area and found the vehicle.

Chae was taken into custody at 8:02 a.m. Lacey police said that after he was medically cleared to go to jail, he would be booked on multiple felony domestic violence charges.