ST. GEORGE – A St. George man, who allegedly broke into a 55-year-old woman’s home in the early morning hours Saturday, threatened her and forced her to perform sexual acts while holding a knife to her throat, was arrested Saturday on multiple felony charges. The woman reportedly did not know the man prior to the attack.
At around 2 a.m. Saturday, 20-year-old Willow Wolfrunner Wood allegedly broke into the woman’s home located on the east side of St. George and used a knife to hold her against her will after removing some of her interior lighting, St. George Police Sgt. Spencer Holmes said.
“He gets in the house, wakes her up – standing above her while she’s in bed – holds a knife to her and gives her demands,” Holmes said. “She indicated that the person intended to have sex with her and forced her to perform oral sex on him.”
While holding the knife to the woman’s throat, Holmes said, Wood made motions that caused superficial cuts on the woman’s neck.
Although Wood was a complete stranger to the woman, who was living alone after her husband recently died, police said they believe she may have been targeted by Wood.
“I don’t believe it was random – I think he had targeted her,” Holmes said. “Why he targeted her is unknown. She did have a sister staying with her this week who had left to go back (home), so she was home alone. Given that her status of being alone in the home had recently changed, we think this person was watching her and knew that she would be in the home alone.”
At some point during the incident, Wood, who was allegedly intoxicated at the time, passed out on the woman’s bed, Holmes said. As soon as she believed Wood was asleep, the woman left the house and called police.
When officers arrived, they entered the residence and found Wood passed out on the bed with the knife nearby, Holmes said. He was taken into custody at gunpoint.
Though the incident is still under investigation, police said they believe Wood entered the woman’s home through an open window.
“There was an open window to a living room found when we arrived,” Holmes said. “I suspect that’s how he entered. There was not any damage to the front door.”
Holmes said incidents like these are uncommon in St. George. Notwithstanding, he offered tips to help safeguard against these types of crimes and situations.
“If neighbors keep an eye on neighbors, that always helps,” he said. “I would have loved for her to have made sure all of her windows were locked, you know, had a dog, had motion lighting, had an alarm system, you know; something like that would have helped in this situation. I think he knew this victim did not have all that and targeted her because of it.”
Wood was booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on charges that include: three first-degree felonies for aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping and a forcible sex offense; a third-degree felony for aggravated assault with a weapon; a class B misdemeanor for minor consumption of alcohol; and a class C misdemeanor for a warrant, according to booking records.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.