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Police: Woman Escaped After Being Held Hostage, Beaten And Raped For Weeks

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — A man kidnapped a woman and held her captive inside a rooming house for three weeks, beating and sexually assaulting her until she escaped and made her way to a hospital, police said Friday.

Steven Kitchell was charged with kidnapping, rape, simple assault and other offenses. Bethlehem police said Kitchell was captured Wednesday in Newark, N.J., where he was jailed pending transfer to Pennsylvania and couldn’t be reached for comment. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Kitchell, 34, and the woman, 21, had just become acquainted through a mutual friend when he took her prisoner around May 24 inside the third-floor room where he lived, Sgt. Robert Urban said. He kept her under lock and key and occasionally locked her in a cramped storage space behind a wall, Urban said.

The woman found the key to the room’s deadbolt lock and, on June 15, waited until the man was gone to let herself out and flee, said police, who interviewed her at the hospital.

Police searched the home on June 17 and learned that Kitchell had gone to New Jersey. He was tracked down by the U.S. Marshals Service and Newark police.

Urban said the investigation continues, and more arrests are possible.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether anyone had reported the woman missing.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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