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Friday, May 6, 2016

Manhunt ends in husband's arrest

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Horseshoe Bend man charged with beating wife

The manhunt for a Horseshoe Bend man wanted for brutally assaulting his wife ended when he was arrested July 10.

Robert Sanders, 34, was arrested after Horseshoe Bend Police Chief Fred Mitchell alerted surrounding authorities to be on the lookout for Sanders who had fled after his wife, Heather, was hospitalized for injuries he had allegedly inflicted on her.

Mitchell said Mrs. Sanders' relatives contacted authorities about the beating. The family was concerned for her safety and thought she might need medical attention, Mitchell said.

Mitchell and officer Mark Long traveled to the Sanders' residence at 1405 Pavilion Lane to interview the victim.

Officers knocked on the door several times before the couple answered. Mitchell said he thinks Sanders was attempting to flee through the bedroom window when he spotted authorities because the screen was removed.

Mitchell spoke with Mrs. Sanders and Long interviewed Sanders. The pair told officers that a white female girl named "Becky" from Batesville had entered their home and had beaten Mrs. Sanders.

Mitchell said the victim's lip was broken open and she had bruises on 80 percent of her arms.

Mrs. Sanders repeatedly told officers that her husband did not beat her. "I didn't believe her story," Mitchell said.

She was transported to Community Medical Center Hospital in Calico Rock where she admitted to Long that her husband had beaten her.

"I was shocked when Heather started opening up to me," Long said.

Mrs. Sanders claims the abuse started June 15 when her husband slammed her body to the floor then picked her up and started beating her. He also hit her with the metal part of his belt, an affidavit noted.

The victim told officers that during the week of July 1 through July 7 her husband had grabbed her by the back of her head and smashed her into the wall of the laundry room and shored her head into the washing machine.

Long and Mitchell noted a hole in the laundry room wall while they were at the home.

Mrs. Sanders told authorities that her husband stabbed her in the left forearm and left knee. Mitchell said the injuries were verified by medical personnel at the hospital.

She also suffered from cigarette burns on her right cheek and on the left side of her collar bone.

Mrs. Sanders claims her husband inflicted brutal sexual acts upon her. She said he grabbed her by the throat and choked her until she couldn't breathe. He told her, "Die, bitch," according to the affidavit.

Mrs. Sanders signed a statement which read, "Robert said I would be dead by my 21st birthday and that's on the 25th of July."

"It was one of the most serious domestic violence cases I have seen," Mitchell said.

Sanders was interviewed July 7 at the Horseshoe Bend Police Department but he maintained that his wife had been beaten by the Batesville woman, Mitchell said.

During the interview officers noticed that his hands were swollen with marks on his right knuckle.

He told officers he sustained the cuts when he had chopped down some trees in his yard, Mitchell said.

Authorities asked him why he didn't take his wife to the hospital and he replied he was afraid the police would think he had beaten his wife, the affidavit reported.

Sanders sent a dozen red roses to his wife July 10, Mitchell said. A note was attached, but Mitchell said he could not reveal the details of the note because it would be used as evidence.

The flower order was sent from a florist in Batesville but the flowers arrived from a florist in Cherokee Village, Mitchell said.

Sanders was found hiding in bushes between 20th and 21st streets in Batesville, said Capt. Bill Lindsey of the Independence County Sheriff's Office. Sanders' vehicle was found in the First Baptist Church parking lot. Lindsey said the vehicle was impounded.

Mrs. Sanders was taken to a safe place after her release from the hospital July 9, Mitchell said.

16th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Don McSpadden filed felony charges of first degree domestic battering July 8.

The suspect was transported to the Izard County jail where he remains on a $50,000 bond. His arraignment hearing is scheduled July 17 at the Izard County Courthouse.

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