A dramatic SWAT standoff at a Utah home has uncovered a horrific kidnapping ordeal that police say saw a woman held captive for weeks while she was tortured in increasingly deranged ways.
The woman’s alleged captor, identified by authorities in West Valley City as 50-year-old Garman Shaun Cunningham, is now behind bars and facing a slew of charges. Police learned of his alleged house of horrors after responding to a domestic violence call at his home late Friday; they were reportedly tipped off to him holding a woman against her will since Nov. 1.
Cunningham is said to have raped the woman repeatedly over the course of nearly two weeks, while also allegedly subjecting her to sleep deprivation and refusing to let her drink or eat. The unnamed victim also told investigators Cunningham shot another woman dead in front of her and “then disposed of the body in an undisclosed area,” according to local news outlet KSL-TV, which cited a probable cause affidavit.
Police have not yet been able to verify if another woman was murdered. Cunningham’s alleged victim has not yet been identified, and it remains unclear if the two knew each other prior to the kidnapping.
The woman described a nightmarish existence in captivity to investigators, telling them Cunningham had held a gun to her head, cut her with glass, and forced her to drink WD-40.
Cunningham tried to put up a fight when police first arrived, local station ABC 4 reported. The tense scene even led police to use reverse 911 calls to warn nearby residents to stay indoors.
Cunningham is said to have fired a single shot at officers and thrown objects out of his window at them before walking out of the house with a sword. After chucking the sword and fleeing, it was ultimately police K-9s that took him down, though police said he still tried to fight officers as they took him into custody.
He has been booked at Salt Lake County Jail and charged with 11 offenses, including aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, felony discharge of a firearm, and assaulting a peace officer.