Pennsylvania woman beaten, strangled and left for dead in woods crawls 2 miles, calls cops, boyfriend arrested

Around the same time Charles Paul Etling reportedly turned himself into custody and confessed that he had murdered his girlfriend, police received a call saying she's still alive


                            Pennsylvania woman beaten, strangled and left for dead in woods crawls 2 miles, calls cops, boyfriend arrested
Charles Paul Etling (Pennsylvania State Police)

MT. PLEASANT, PENNSYLVANIA: A woman who was allegedly beaten by her boyfriend and left for dead in the woods managed to crawl her way to safety and notify authorities, who are calling it one of the "most incredible" survival stories they had ever come across.

The victim, who has not been named to protect her identity, had allegedly been assaulted by Chris Paul Etling, of Mount Pleasant, after they got into an argument inside his pick-up truck last Thursday, June 11, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

"At that time, Mr. Etling decided he was gonna kill his girlfriend," said State Trooper Stephen Limani. "He beat her and then tried to strangle her, and then drug what he thought was her lifeless body into the woods and left her near a creek bed."

Etling had dragged his girlfriend's body off the side of White Bridge Road near the Jacobs Creek in Mt. Pleasant Township and left her there. "After choking her for the second time, she fell to the ground and was motionless/unconscious," Trooper Evan Terek wrote in a criminal complaint obtained by TribLive.

Panicking she was dead, he had then visited a friend nearby and asked for advice on what he should do. Limani said the friend suggested Etling get rid of the body because "you can't just leave it there." The pair then started to drive back to the scene with a tarp to move her body, only for Etling to change his mind and decide to go back home.

He called his sister at 5 am on June 12 and confessed he believed he had killed his girlfriend. Troopers were then called to his parents' home and took him into custody, according to court papers.

Meanwhile, the victim, who was nearly dead and whose eyes had been swollen shut by her beating, had managed to stumble two miles along the creek in the dark and onto the front yard of Debbie Scott on Meadowbrook Road.

"She had a giant gash on the side of her face. Her hair had briars. I’d never seen anybody look quite like she did," Scott shared. "She didn’t have anything on except a muscle shirt — no pants, no shoes — covered in mud, covered in blood."

"She couldn’t see anything but she heard the lawnmower and she knew that in order for her to survive, she had to follow the sound of the lawnmower," she added. "She had a will to survive because there’s no reason why she did."

Scott called the state police to notify them at around the same time Etling reportedly turned himself into custody and confessed that he had murdered his girlfriend. 

"(He’s) literally sitting down with our officers being interviewed … and we’re telling him, 'Hey, she’s actually alive,'" Limani said.

Etling is currently being held at the Westmoreland County Jail without bond and is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault, strangulation, and reckless endangerment.

Police said the friend he asked for help to move his girlfriend's body was called 'Josh' but that they didn't know much about him and anyone with information about his identity is asked to call state police at 724-832-3288.

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