from: Dr.Bluto-X

Police officers are investigating the bizarre case of a woman whose husband of 15 years is accused of keeping her on a 25-foot chain similar to those used for dogs. San Antonio firefighters used bolt cutters Thursday afternoon to cut the chain, which was wrapped around the woman's neck twice and held in place with a padlock, police said.

Jerry Wayne Thomason, 41, was charged with aggravated assault with serious bodily injury and unlawful restraint. He was in Bexar County Jail in lieu of posting a $53,000 bond.

His 45-year-old wife was taken to Southeast Baptist Hospital, where she was treated and released.

A witness alerted police at about 11:45 a.m. after seeing the chain around the woman's neck as the couple dropped off their two sons, ages 11 and 14, at a Southeast Side school. Police said the witness asked the husband about the chain.

He told the witness, as he jerked the chain, that it was meant to keep his wife from running off, police said.

Early Thursday afternoon, officials found the couple in the driveway of their home on the Southeast Side.

The woman was standing beside a blue 1991 Cadillac with the chain still around her neck. The length of it was cradled in her arms, officer Kenny Hagen said.

"She had a really tough time talking," he said. "She was distraught, kind of like beat down, almost like you had accepted your fate in life."

The husband was asleep in the driver's seat, Hagen said. The man told police he loved his wife and wanted to take care of her.

Family Violence Detective R. Gallegos, who's investigating the incident, declined to comment, saying only: "She is going to be OK."

The couple's two children were with their maternal grandmother, police said.

It was unclear late Thursday how long the woman had been wearing the chain and whether she was kept tied up.

A couple who live nearby said they saw the woman, who they described as withdrawn, mowing the grass at a relative's home across the street earlier in the week.

They said they didn't see the chain then.

Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said the husband once told him he kept his wife in a cage at night.

"I said, 'For real? Are you serious?'" he recalled. "I thought he was joking."

Patricia Castillo, executive director of the PEACE Initiative, a local organization that works with victims of abuse, said it's not uncommon for women to be controlled and dominated by their partners.

However, in her 23 years of social work experience, she said, she'd never heard of a woman being held on a chain.

Women in similar relationships "have nothing to be ashamed of," she added, and should "reach out to whomever you can."

Castillo praised the witness who reported the case to police, calling her a heroine.

"We need people like her practically on every block of this city," Castillo said.



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