The woman whose appearance in brief home security footage shocked and disturbed viewers across the internet has been identified as a victim of domestic violence, according to police in Texas.
In the viral black-and-white video, the woman in question rings a doorbell with a look of severe distress on her face. Perhaps more alarming to viewers was the fact that the woman was half-naked and could be seen wearing extensive hand restraints on one arm.
The woman is now confirmed to be safe and staying with relatives in Dallas. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is declining to release the woman’s identity at this time, however, citing her status as a victim of “family violence.”
Lieutenant Scott Spencer made the following statement while addressing the press at a news conference on Wednesday:
Deputies received information that a male had made suicidal threats and comments. When deputies arrived at the scene, they were unable to get an answer at the door. At that time, they forced entry into the residence. Searching the residence, deputies found a 49-year-old white male, deceased. The preliminary cause of death at this time is a single gunshot wound, I believe self-inflicted. The decedent’s girlfriend, a 32-year-old white female, who was not on scene when deputies arrived, is confirmed to be the female in the doorbell video that has been circulating around on the internet. Due to the female’s status as a family violence victim, the female’s identity cannot be released at this time. We can confirm that the female is safe and that she is with family at this time.
According to local ABC affiliate KTRK, Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies tied the man and woman together following a “suspicious shooting” incident in the Sunrise Ranch subdivision, some 55 miles north of Houston.
Following a “a welfare check call,” authorities arrived to find the man already dead–and an apparent suicide note connecting him to the woman in the doorbell-ringing video.
Spencer continued, noting, “The male did leave a suicide note to help identify the female and some of the circumstances about why this occurred. There’s some issues obviously with the video surveillance, why she was wearing those restraints and the circumstances surrounding it. We only have one side of a story right now.”
Police also hope to interview the woman soon.
Jennie Drude originally posted the video from her home surveillance system in an effort to help the woman, she said, but had no idea it would go viral. In comments to KTRK, she said, “I looked at it from a mom perspective. Her family is missing her. Her mom is probably wondering where she is. I know as a mom, if it was my child, I would hope someone would do everything.”
In comments to KPRC, the woman’s neighbor, Julie Noble, said, “I’m glad she’s home safe. It’s just scary, you just never know. It’s just not something you hear about around here.”
[image and video via Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office]