Man abuses, hides ex-wife in attic

SACRAMENTO, CA (KOVR/CNN) - A California woman was allegedly kept for two weeks in an attic while being beaten and raped by her ex-husband.

Lawson Rankin is being charged for allegedly raping and holding his ex-wife against her will in his attic. She was given a bucket for a bathroom and Rankin had sealed the attic with drywall with her inside.

According to reports, officers arrived at the scene to conduct a welfare check but the suspect claimed he had not seen his former wife.

A neighbor that lives in a trailer on Rankin's property said the woman wanted to be there.

"That was her choice," said Russell Blair, a neighbor and friend of Rankin's. "She wanted to be up there."

When asked why, Blair said she loves the man she married.

Contrary to that statement are public records showing the victim divorced Rankin in 2010 and took a restraining order out to stop domestic violence from her former husband.

Rankin is also a registered sex offender.

Blair also claims the couple was trying to rekindle their love, claiming they were in the attic so they would not be seen together due to the restraining order.

The women's family members clearly weren't sure about the claims of a rekindled love. The family requested for the sheriff's department to check on her.

When making contact with the suspect, Rankin was covered in drywall mud. Upon entering the home, sheriffs noticed a wet, recently drawled area in the kitchen. Once they broke the seal, they found the victim, abused but alive.

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