(ZANESVILLE, Ohio) — An Ohio woman who was tortured in a wooded area and left abandoned near a remote road has died after being in critical condition for two days, 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.
ABC News is not publishing the woman’s name at this time since she was the victim of a rape.
“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 could be heard in the background moaning in pain.
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. She suffered fourth-degree burns, as deep as the muscle and bone, as well as other injuries.
“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.”
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. An autopsy will be conducted as the investigation continues, authorities said.
“Our investigators are still working heavily in the northeast part of the state with the authorities up here on running down leads,” Capt. Jeff LeCocq of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday, “and the investigation is ongoing.”
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Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Madison Park, CNN
AJ Willingham, CNN
Grant Olsen, KSL.com