(ZANESVILLE, Ohio) — An Ohio woman is fighting for her life after being tortured in a wooded area and left to die near a remote road, officials said.
The 29-year-old woman from Canton was discovered naked Sunday morning by a passing motorist on a Zanesville, Ohio, road with a rope around her neck and severe burns.
“I have a woman right here. She’s burned severely, she’s been raped and she’s been beat up,” the distressed man told police in his 911 call. “She’s got a rope around her neck, she’s totally without clothes and she’s severely burned.”
The motorist told dispatchers that he had the woman lying in the grass and pleaded for them to send medics right away.
The woman can be heard in the background moaning in pain. She is not being identified by name because she is a rape victim.
Despite the excruciating pain, authorities say, she was still able to talk to the motorist, medics and police about what happened.
“Obviously, when you put assault, rape and burn in the same sentence, it’s very brutal,” Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said at a news conference Monday, according to ABC News Columbus affiliate WSYX-TV.
The woman was transported by air to the burn unit at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University in Columbus where she is being treated for fourth-degree burns, as deep as the muscle and bone.
“This is one of the most gruesome things I’ve ever seen in 23 and a half years in law enforcement, as well as some of our detectives,” Lutz said. “I can’t imagine the pain this lady went through.”
She is in critical condition at the hospital, according to Capt. Jeff LeCocq of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers discovered a crime scene in the wooded area near the road, but would not discuss what they found.
“This was not a random act,” Lutz said. “There was a vehicle that we were looking for that interested us. We found that last night in the Canton area. There are some people of interest to us that we are currently looking for.”
Although police say they have multiple persons of interest, no arrests have been made.
“Our investigators are still working heavily in the northeast part of the state with the authorities up here on running down leads,” LeCocq said Tuesday, “and the investigation is ongoing.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Azadeh Ansari and Angela Dewan, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Michael Nedelman, CNN