MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - A 26-year-old woman, described by police as a person who by nature likes helping people, was kidnapped and assaulted after being lured to a Muskegon home.
On Friday, Douglas Richard Fitzgibbon was arraigned for assault with intent to murder and unlawful imprisonment.
Muskegon police said Fitzgibbon claimed he needed help with his grandmother.
It took Jason Whelpley a few minutes to figure out what he was seeing from the front window of his home on Bourdon Street Wednesday evening.
"When I seen the girl crying and I seen the police go around the back of the house. guns drawn in the downward position - ready for something - I didn't know what happened," said Whelpley.
What he was seeing was the aftermath to a terrifying night for the victim.
A short time before, she was at a party store in the nearby 2000 block of Lakeshore, when the 19-year-old man allegedly approached her. She did not know the man.
He told her his grandmother had fallen at home and he needed help, police said. The victim followed the suspect to the home on Bourdon.
But there was no grandmother in trouble.
Instead, Fitzgibbon allegedly forced the victim down the stairs, struck her, tied an electrical cord around her neck and threatened to kill her.
But he left her alone for a moment, which gave the victim a chance to escape.
That's about the time Whelpley looked out the window.
"This must have been after she already escaped and was telling somebody this is where this guy is at and this is where, because she looked distraught here," he said. "But I think she was happy to be out."
Muskegon police picked Fitzgibbon up at a nearby house a short time later.
He wasn't hard to find. They knew where to look.
"He has had multiple contacts with our agency in the past, and it is in line with what we saw yesterday," said Muskegon Public Safety Director Jeffrey Lewis.
In the last eight months alone, Fitzgibbon's record shows about a half-dozen arrests for misdemeanor assaults, larceny and one case of stalking.
24 Hour News 8 also found a personal protection order taken out by a former girlfriend afraid of his controlling nature.
The 19-year-old suspect was busted twice for violating that PPO by contacting the girlfriend, who is not the victim in this latest case.
Chief Lewis said police are not second-guessing what the victim did. But he also said people who want to help out need to know their surroundings.
"When a person gets into a vehicle and then leaves the scene or enters a house or unfamiliar area, at that point they could be in danger."
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