Woman Beaten, Held Captive with Children

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WEST MAHANOY TOWNSHIP -- State police in Schuylkill County are looking for a man they say took a woman into the woods with her two small children and beat her for two days.

The woman managed to escape, but her accused attacker is still on the loose.

The woman says she was beaten so badly, she has a broken bone around her eye and broken ribs. At least one of her two young children witnessed the whole ordeal in the woods outside Shenandoah.

State police are looking for Christopher Benjamin, 34, of West Mahanoy Township.

He allegedly beat a 31-year-old woman and held her, a 4-year-old child, and a 1-year-old child captive over the weekend in a wooded area along Raven Run Road near Shenandoah.

People living nearby are still trying to make sense of it.

"I don't understand. Why would you go after the child and the mother?"

State police say Benjamin is the father of the woman's younger child.

At some point, after allegedly beating the woman in the woods, he threatened to kill her if she left the area. Then, he left with the 1 year old, leaving the woman and her 4 year old behind, telling the mother he wanted her to feel the pain of missing a child.

"It's kind of surprising that it happened in this wooded area right around here. It's unexpected, honestly," said neighbor Stanley Shala.

The 31-year-old woman managed to escape the two-day ordeal of being beaten and held captive in the woods, all in front of her 4-year-old child. But she finally, late at night, made a break for it. She grabbed her baby and ran from the wooded area toward a main road where she was helped and taken to the hospital. She is in serious condition. There is no word on the condition of her child.

"I'd be petrified, and having a child there as well. It's really, really, pathetic," said Tashia Moyer.

For Moyer, who lives just a couple hundred feet away from the wooded area, she still has some fear.

Benjamin has not been caught, and police consider him very dangerous.

"My boyfriend's niece is only 4 and we play out here a lot. Thinking he took a child and mother, it's insane."

Benjamin faces a slew of charges including aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, and endangering the welfare of another person.


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