DYERSBURG, TN - A woman is recovering after her new boyfriend beat her and held her captive for five days.
Charles Cook, is charged with aggravated domestic assault, especially aggravated kidnapping, and two counts theft.
His victim, Melissa, could be in the hospital for more than a week because her injuries are that severe.
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Melissa’s father could hardly recognize her. “She don't look like herself. She is a beautiful girl. She don't look like herself and I just can't believe it,” said Ronnie, Melissa’s father.
The mother’s injuries were so great, her family struggled to list them all.
“Her back is fractured, a couple of ribs, on each side, are broken,” said Ronnie.
“She has a broken jaw,” said Aunt Jeannie. “She is bruised, seriously, from her head to her toes. Her whole body. He hit her with a stick. He hit her with his fist.”
The suspect, Charles Cook, is locked up in the Lauderdale County Jail, but he has been in the Dyer County Jail at least 10 separate times in the past five years.
He was arrested in May of 2017 for two counts of domestic assault.
Four months later, he was booked again for domestic violence and aggravated assault. He has other assault and domestic violence charges dating back to 2012.
Cook’s biological sister reached out to Melissa’s family after she heard about the horrific incident.
“She was very apologetic,” said Melissa’s cousin Asheley. “She said if he gets out, he will kill somebody, and said that she is surprised he hasn't already.”
Police tracked Cook down this week after he stole Melissa’s phone and car.
They said he had beaten her for five days straight, and even used a the wooden handle from a plunger.
“He clearly left her to die. He thought she was dead,” said cousin Ashley. “When she finally realized that he was gone, she regained consciousness and crawled to a neighbor's house.”
The two met through the online dating app, Tinder, and had been dating for less than a month.
“I don't know him. I never met him. Melissa just met him,” said Aunt Jeannie and Ronnie, in unison.
Now though, Melissa’s family wishes the two had never met, as she lies in a hospital, with a lifelong recovery ahead.
“She said, ‘He treated me like I was nothing.’”
The dating app, Tinder, does not do background checks. Melissa’s family said that they regret not looking into Cook’s background, and Melissa taking him at his word.
A Tinder spokesperson sent this statement to FOX13 News:
Our thoughts are with the victim and we will fully cooperate with law enforcement to aid in any investigation that involves Tinder.
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