Washington woman says she survived being buried alive by estranged husband

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(NewsNation) —  A woman in Washington State says she survived being stabbed and buried alive by her estranged husband.

On Oct. 16, Lacey Police were dispatched to an unknown trouble call. Dispatchers told officers they could hear muffled screaming and sounds of a struggle.

Officers ended up clearing the scene after speaking to the children of the resident and finding used duct tape in the home.

According to police, Young An, 42, has a domestic violence protection order against her estranged husband, Chae An, 53. After investigating the home, police sent an endangered missing persons alert along with social media posts and notifications in Thurston and Pierce counties.

“That went on for about 12 hours until we got first contact where the victim had been able to escape her attacker and gotten to a nearby house in a rural area a few miles away from where she was abducted,” Lacey Police Chief Robert Almada said.

Police canvassed the area and collected multiple security videos from residents. Authorities say one of the videos shows Chae pulling his van into the garage, quickly shutting the door and leaving right before officers arrived to the home.

Minutes before 1 a.m. on Oct. 17, someone woke up to Young An pounding on their door and asking for help on Stedman Road. She told the resident Chae was trying to kill her. She said she was stabbed in the chest by her husband and buried in a shallow grave with a heavy tree on top of her.

Young told Lacey Police that Chae kidnapped her and drove her into the woods. She escaped and walked 20-30 minutes through the woods to find help. She was rushed to the hospital to treat her non-life-threatening injuries.

At 7:38 a.m. someone walking on a trail found the suspect vehicle 200 yards off of Stedman Road in the woods. Then at 8:02 a.m. Chae was taken into custody without incident. Authorities later linked Young to the scene after discovering the shallow grave, duct tape and strands of hair.

Former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer appeared on “NewsNation Prime” Sunday to provide her insight into the case.

Coffindaffer says her read of the case is that something fell through the cracks.

“Something fell through the cracks, but I think the biggest takeaway from this case is the fact that this woman survived. If there’s any message that can be brought home on this, it’s the fact that you can be stabbed, strangled, buried alive, suffocated and survived several hours,” Coffindaffer said.

Meanwhile, police are confident in their investigation.

“I’m very pleased with our response. We used every resource we have. We called the detectives or special operations folks. We notified can resources, state resources, federal resources and started using all means possible to track down the victim. Unfortunately, like you talked about, the suspect took steps to mask his tracking so he destroyed her phone, destroyed the Apple Watch,” Almada said.

Coffindaffer says bottom line is people should look at Young An’s amazing resolve to survive.

“It just really goes to show the resolve of somebody with a life-threatening type situation that if they don’t panic, they keep their wits about them, and they go about saving their own life,” Coffindaffer said.

Chae is being held without bond. Chief Almada says he’s looking at potential kidnapping and attempted murder charges related to domestic violence.

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