On the morning of December 26, 2016, a North Carolina teen managed to escape a devastating ordeal that had taken place within her own home. Police are now crediting the teen with saving her own life after she was able to get her hands on her phone and text a friend to send help.

When officers responded to the scene a man identified as Gary Stephen Love answered the door. When he was asked about the whereabouts of the teen or her mother, Robin Denman, Love said they had gone to attend a funeral and attempted to flee out of the back door. The police were able to apprehend Love and had the teen transported for medical assistance.

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According to the teen, Love had been an old acquaintance of Denman’s. Denman had been allowing Love to stay on her couch for a few months. He had been holding the teen captive since Christmas Eve. There were also signs that the young girl had been subjected to a violent sexual assault. In a back room, the body of Robin Denman was recovered. She had also been the victim of a violent sexual assault before she was killed.

Robin Denman has been described as a kind soul, and many people within her neighborhood, as well as friends as former coworkers, are in complete disbelief over the tragedy that occurred within Denman’s own home during Christmas.

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One teen who knew Denman’s daughter described Love as “creepy”. In an article published in Statesville Record & Landmark, the teen interview says that Love would try to touch Denman’s daughter inappropriately or cuddle up with her. The teen later told his father about it and his father urged him to stay away from Love. He says he now regrets not saying anything about it to the police.

 
 
Love was found to be wanted on several warrants out of Ohio for charges related to domestic violence. He first court appearance is set for January 3, 2017.

Funeral services for Denman are expected to be held on December 31, 2016. She leaves behind three children, including her daughter who was able to escape a similar fate.