Woman found behind attic wall, torture alleged
Oroville man arrested in connection
An Oroville man is behind bars in Butte County accused of raping, torturing and imprisoning a woman over two weeks behind a wall in an attic on Larkin Road.
Lawson Rankin, 29, was booked into the Butte County Jail without bail on suspicion of torture, false imprisonment, domestic battery, spousal rape, criminal threats, witness intimidation, and violation of a court order, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff's deputies broke through the wall and found a woman inside the attic on Monday in the 4600 block of Lincoln Boulevard.
Deputies arrived at the home in search of the woman, but Rankin denied knowing where she was, the Sheriff's Department said.
"Deputies saw that Rankin was covered in drywall mud and saw an area in the kitchen that had been recently gone over with drywall mud and was still very wet," Sheriff Jerry Smith said in a statement.
The woman said she had been held against her
Rankin's prior criminal history includes a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction earlier this year. He was ordered to serve 90 days in jail in June after pleading no contest.
However, two months later, Rankin was arrested again and pleaded not guilty in Aug. 16 to a felony count of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse. He is scheduled to appear Dec. 20 for a preliminary hearing, according to Butte County Superior Court records.
Records state Rankin was divorced in 2010.