When police responded to a 911 call, they found a man accused of beating his girlfriend hiding in the closet.
Derek A. Lenz, 26, Weyauwega, is charged with two counts of felony strangulation and one count each of felony intimidation of a victim, misdemeanor battery and criminal damage to property as acts of domestic abuse. He is also charged with illegal possession of prescription drugs and possession of marijuana.
On Sunday, Feb. 14, Waupaca Police Officer Nicole Hahn was advised of a 911 open line believed to be coming from a home on the 700 block of Holbeck Street. Dispatch said they could hear a man and woman arguing.
Hahn knocked on the door, but there was no response, and she could not hear anything from inside the house.
Waupaca County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Thorpe arrived at the scene, and Hahn knocked again without hearing a response.
Dispatch then advised that they could hear a woman screaming on the other end of the line.
Hahn and Thorpe entered the house. They found nobody on the first floor, but heard a loud thump coming from upstairs.
As they went upstairs, the officers heard a woman screaming.
According to the criminal complaint, the officers found a distraught and visibly injured woman standing in a bedroom. They also reported finding a man, identified as Lenz, hiding in the closet.
As Lenz was taken into custody, he asked if he could get his jacket.
When Thorpe said they would search his jacket first, Lenz claimed anything the officers found in the jacket belonged to the woman.
Hahn reported finding some marijuana, a pill and a pot pipe with burnt residue.
The woman had bruises and scratches and was transported by ambulance to the hospital.
She told Hahn that she and Lenz began arguing the night before about his drug use.
During the argument, Lenz allegedly took her cellphone and smashed it, threw her around and punched her. The woman said Lenz threw her into the wall so hard her body broke through the drywall.
Later, she hid his drugs and took his cellphone. She told Hahn that Lenz became angry and pulled her upstairs to the bedroom. She said she was able to dial 911 with his cellphone, but was unable to speak with dispatch. She hid his cellphone in a pile of clothes so the communications officers could hear what was happening.
While searching for the drugs and phone, Lenz ripped apart the woman’s bedroom, pushed her to the floor and placed his elbow on her throat to prevent her from breathing, the complaint says. The woman said she choked and vomited.
When Lenz saw the officers arrive from the second story window, he allegedly jumped on top of the woman and covered her mouth with his hand so she could not scream. When she struggled to get away, he pinched her nose so she could not breath, the complaint says.
Lenz was held in custody on a $1,000 cash bond until Feb. 16, when he was released on a $2,000 signature bond. The victim requested a no-contact provision be removed from the bond.
On Jan. 27, Lenz was charged with illegal entry, battery, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property as acts of domestic abuse.