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After wife mouthed ‘help me’ to police, husband arrested for torture and murder of mother-in-law found stabbed with scissors, duct tape covering her head, and coat hangers wrapped around her neck

William Emilio Torres Gautier and the home where he allegedly tortured and killed his mother-in-law (York County Jail, WGAL screenshot)

William Emilio Torres Gautier and the home where he allegedly tortured and killed his mother-in-law (York County Jail, WGAL screenshot)

A 42-year-old man in Pennsylvania was arrested this week for allegedly torturing and killing his 67-year-old mother-in-law inside their family home.

William Emilio Torres Gautier was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault — fear of imminent serious bodily injury, terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, and abuse of a corpse in the slaying of Lourdes Ramos Baez, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a press release from the Northern York County Regional Police Department, officers on Tuesday afternoon responded to a call regarding a “disturbance” at a home in the 100 block of South Main Street in Dover, Pennsylvania, about 100 miles west of Philadelphia.

When police arrived, they found Gautier, his wife and their two small children in the rear of the home.

While speaking to Gautier, his wife was seen signaling for help, police said.

“The female indicated that her mother was in the home and needed help,” police said.

Police said when they were speaking with the family, Gautier’s wife stood behind him and was seen “mouthing the words ‘help me,'” Lancaster NBC affiliate WGAL-TV reported. But when police tried to engage with Gautier’s wife, he allegedly became upset.

“As officers attempted to speak to the female, Gautier intervened and pushed a section of wooden fence at officers, striking one of them,” the release states. “The officers took Gautier into custody after a brief struggle.”

During the struggle, police say Gautier pushed and spit on an officer, then broke the squad car’s window and camera system.

Following Gautier’s arrest, officers found Baez’s body amid a grisly crime scene.

According to a copy of the probable cause affidavit obtained by the York Daily Record, police say that Ramos’ body was lying facedown and hidden beneath a pile of clothes and other debris on the floor of her bedroom. When the body was fully revealed, officers said that “duct tape covered her eyes and face” and that “coat hangers were wrapped around her neck,” the Daily Record reported.

Police reportedly wrote that the victim’s arms had been tied behind her back with clothing, and she appeared to have been repeatedly stabbed in the back with scissors, and her right Achilles tendon had been sliced. There was also a white substance believed to be salt “that was poured over the body, per the Daily Record. She was pronounced dead at 2:19 p.m., authorities said.

An autopsy determined that Ramos’ manner of death was a homicide, and the cause of death was “blunt force head and neck injuries with strangulation,” according to a report from the York County Coroner’s Office.

In an interview with investigators, Gautier’s wife said she woke up in the early morning hours of Tuesday to Gautier going “ballistic,” WGAL reported. She said he then kicked in the door to her mom’s bedroom, and she could hear both of them screaming. The wife grabbed their two young children and went outside as she continued to hear her mother screaming, the report states.

The wife and children reportedly remained outside for several hours. She told police that Gautier told them they were not allowed to return to the house because he was “fixing things” and “using Clorox,” per WGAL. The previous evening, he reportedly told his wife that he planned to kill Ramos to “take all of her money,” police wrote in the report.

Gautier is being held in the York County Jail without bond.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.