West Virginia man allegedly kidnapped woman, tortured her with butane torch

News & Politics

A West Virginia man has been accused of terrorizing a woman by trapping her in his home for several hours and torturing her with a blowtorch.

On Tuesday, a woman in Philippi, West Virginia, about 40 miles south of Morgantown, called 911 and reported that she was hiding under a neighbor’s porch in order to escape from a man she claimed had tortured her. When police located the victim, she claimed that 47-year-old Sammy Joe Martz had trapped her in his home and assaulted her for four or five hours.

She told investigators that Martz had “hit her in the face and her eye” and “burnt her with a torch on her stomach and her leg,” the criminal complaint stated. When she had tried to leave earlier that morning, Martz had supposedly “‘Tortured’ her by striking her all over her body, sitting on her and burning her with a butane torch.” She added that he threatened to kill her if she tried to leave, but she eventually managed to escape through a rear window. The officer on the scene, identified in the complaint as “Sgt. Miller,” noticed that the woman had a bruised eye and took pictures to document her injuries.

During an investigation of Martz’s residence, police discovered an unloaded rifle hanging on the wall and “a substantial amount of Methamphetamine,” a Philippi PD Facebook post said. Officers arrested Martz and charged him with kidnapping.

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When questioned, Martz admitted to police that “he did harm [the victim] by striking her and burning her with a torch on at least 3 occasions,” the complaint added.

Martz has been booked in Tygart Valley Regional Jail and held without bond. Jail records list Martz as a “convicted felon.” In 2018, Martz was charged with setting a fire in a vacant car wash, though whether he was ever convicted of that crime is unclear.

The Barbour County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police also assisted in the alleged kidnapping investigation.

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