In a chilling tale reminiscent of the Ariel Castro case, an Idaho man held a woman captive as a sex slave, maintaining control both physically and psychologically over her for as long as one and a half years. Oscar Ayala-Arizmendi has been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, rape and first-degree kidnapping. He is being held under $1 million bail.
Twins Falls County Sheriff’s Deputies went to the Buhl, Idaho, home on Tuesday at approximately 4:30 p.m. to execute a search warrant. Inside, they discovered locks and chains fixed to floors and walls, chains on doors, an electrical system that would deliver a shock to a person attempting to flee the home, and a handgun, which corresponded to the claims that a woman had made regarding being been held hostage in the home. The officers also recovered a bucket during the search, which the woman had claimed to have been forced to use as a restroom during her time in captivity.
The woman, 27, alleges that she and Ayala-Arizmendi moved into the Idaho home together, the second home in which she was held, and that the abuse and sexual assaults began prior to that, possibly as long as a year and a half before the move. She moved in with Ayala-Arizmendi two years ago, but the abuse did not begin until about six months later. The woman claims that she was raped repeatedly by Ayala-Arizmendi, who occasionally held a gun against her head and forced her to take meth in order to keep her “drugged up,” sometimes forcing her to smoke it two to three times per week.
She also claims that she was held as a sexual slave, and was shackled and forced to perform sex acts on Ayala-Arizmendi. She detailed acts of abuse committed on her, including being beaten alternately with a hammer and a 2-by-4, and leading her about the house with a rope like a dog. The windows of the home had been boarded up and the exterior doors were chained in order to keep her from escaping. During the night, she would be locked inside Ayala-Arizmendi’s bedroom and abused.
In order to keep her compliant, Ayala-Arizmendi threatened the woman with death or bodily harm if she tried to leave the home. She alleges that he once told her he would “cut her up into small pieces and flush her down the toilet” if she even made an attempt to escape. The threats worked to hold her psychologically, so that on the three or four occasions when she did leave the home with his permission, she always returned.
During the night of April 8, four people, including the woman’s brother, arrived at the house and managed to free her by using “force and some deception.”
The story was not reported to police until the woman was jailed on a drug charge almost two weeks after her escape, at which time she relayed her charges to police, which led to the search warrant being issued and performed. Investigators worked for 2 ½ weeks to gather enough evidence against Ayala-Arizmendi to make the arrest. While being taken into custody, he discarded a glass pipe by throwing it into a bathtub. He also tested positive for meth after his arrest.
Oscar Ayala-Arizmendi is in an Idaho jail on a border patrol hold while authorities investigate his immigration status. The New York Daily News reports that he is in the U.S. illegally. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 23.
By Jennifer Pfalz
Detroit Free Press