Dyersburg kidnapping suspect on the run, allegedly locked girlfriend in closet for 2 months

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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DYERSBURG, Tenn. (WMC) - A kidnapping suspect is still at large after Dyersburg police say he held a woman captive in the closet of a vacant house for two months.

It’s been three days since police were called near the intersection of Lewis Avenue and Schaffer Street for a potential domestic situation.

What they found was potentially much more concerning.

Upon arrival, officers met a woman who was reportedly “very thin” with cuts on her face.

The woman, unknown to us at this time, told officers she had been locked in a closet by her boyfriend for the last two months and had just escaped.

The home in question is a vacant one just a couple of blocks away on Ayers Street.

Dyersburg police say 30-year-old Brenton Bell is wanted for holding a woman captive  for weeks...
Dyersburg police say 30-year-old Brenton Bell is wanted for holding a woman captive for weeks inside a locked closet of this vacant home on Ayers Street.(Action News 5)

Angelina Steele lives next door to the home.

“You think you live on a quiet street, but it’s not,” she said.

Steele said she was home Saturday when, in her words, officers surrounded the home.

Dyersburg police said in a Facebook post that when they went inside, they found evidence of “human waste.”

The victim reportedly told police she was only allowed out of the closet for an hour a day.

She was also provided very limited food and no bathroom facilities, according to police.

According to Steele, the home has had the police called on it several times before for drug activity.

“We’ve seen people come in and out, climbing through the windows. We’ve called the police on them,” Steele said.

“This is insane,” said Brittney Custer, a resident who was visiting her aunt just down the street. “I can’t imagine what she went through, what she is feeling now.”

The alleged kidnapper is the victim’s supposed boyfriend, who’s been identified as 30-year-old Brenton Bell.

He is described as being 5 foot, 5 inches tall, and weighing 150 pounds.

There is a warrant out for his arrest for aggravated kidnapping.

“I know that bad stuff can happen anywhere, but this is Dyersburg,” Custer said. “This is a small town, and for someone to be held captive for two months, you’d think that someone would be like ‘Hey. Something is going on at this house.’ or something like that.”

We’re told the victim was treated and released at West Tennessee Health Dyersburg.

Anyone with information as to where Bell may be located is urged to call the Dyersburg Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 731-288-7679, or Crime Stoppers at 731-285-TIPS.

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