Oroville man arrested for holding woman in attic for 2 weeks, sexually assaulting her

1:05 AM, Dec 6, 2012   |    comments
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Lawson Rankin arrested in Oroville on Wednesday.

OROVILLE, Calif. - A man was arrested Wednesday for locking a woman in his attic for two weeks and sexually assaulting her during her imprisonment.

Butte County sheriff's deputies arrested Lawson Rankin, 29, at a home on the 4600 block of Lincoln Boulevard around 11:30 a.m. when deputies went to the home to check on the woman's welfare, Butte County Sheriff's Det. Jason Hail said.

Rankin told deputies that he had not seen the woman the deputies were looking for.

However, Hail said deputies saw that Rankin was covered in drywall mud. The deputies then saw an area in the kitchen that had been recently gone over with drywall mud and was still very wet. The deputies broke the seal of the drywall and found the woman they were looking for inside the attic.

The woman told police Rankin had locked her up in the attic for two weeks and repeatedly raped her. Hail said the woman suffered minor injuries, which she said were from Rankin.

Hail said Rankin had a restraining order issued against him in a domestic violence case.

Rankin was booked into Butte County Jail for parole violation, torture, false imprisonment, domestic battery, spousal rape, criminal threats, witness intimidation and violation of a court order.

Details of Rankin's arrest shocked those close to him. Eric Rodriquez said he considered Rankin, known as JR, a close friend for years. 

"To me it doesn't sound like the JR I know, but at this point, I really couldn't put it past him," Rodriquez said.

That's because Rodriquez described Rankin's marriage as a troubled one.

"Just a lot of verbal abuse, fighting. It was just a really dysfunctional type marriage," Rodriquez said.


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