An accused killer-kidnapper tortured a woman at his house for five days before making the mistake that led to his arrest: He went to work. In his absence, the 49-year-old woman loosened the ropes binding her hands and feet and called 911, police said.

The woman, who was abducted last Monday after her attacker killed her husband, was rescued late Friday. Donald A. Flagg, 40, was arrested the same day at his job in a body shop at the Chrysler Corp. plant in Newark and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Puglisi Jr., 50, and with kidnapping, weapons violations and sexual assault.

Police said Flagg may be a suspect in other attacks. "There are a lot of things in his personality and {method of operation} that lead us to believe he may be a very viable suspect in pending cases of ours," Delaware State Police spokesman Lt. Rick Chamberlin told the News Journal of Wilmington, refusing to name specific cases.

In her 911 call Friday, the woman pleaded: "Please come get me, help me, help me. . . . He killed my husband. . . . He said he saw me in the yard and he wanted me. He was waiting in my house for me."

Before the call ended, police had arrived. She remained hospitalized in fair condition Sunday.

"Her will to live is what saved her," said police Chief John L. Cunningham.

Police said Flagg was driving to work last Monday when he saw the woman working in her garden in Academy Hills, near Newark. Flagg, who had been smoking crack, parked his car on a side street and slipped into her house through an unlocked side door.

When he came home from work for a nap, Anthony Puglisi surprised Flagg, who shot the funeral director in the head, police said. Puglisi's wife did not hear the shot because of nearby construction and lawn mowers.

Flagg helped himself to a couple of beers while waiting for the woman to come in from the garden. As she washed her hands in the kitchen, Flagg grabbed her, punched her in the head, and took her to the basement where he tied her up and sexually assaulted her, police said.

He later backed his car to the front door, put her in the trunk and drove to his home less than five miles away on a cul-de-sac in Wellington Woods, police said.

Flagg assaulted and tormented her in different rooms of his house as police searched for her and, until she called 911 Friday, considered her a suspect in her husband's slaying. Flagg told her about the death of her husband, reading her details of the investigation from newspaper stories and making her watch televised accounts, authorities said.

Puglisi's body had been found in his bedroom Monday evening by neighbors concerned because his wife, who co-workers said was always punctual, had not reported to work as a hospice nurse.

Flagg's neighbors described him as a quiet man who lived alone, kept to himself and seldom had visitors. Some said they had neither seen nor heard anything unusual at his home during the week.

"He was cutting his lawn Wednesday, and I was out here, and he gave me a little wave," said next-door neighbor Ed Figueroa. "He was nonchalant."

But Laura Hanson, another neighbor, said she heard a scream late Tuesday night from the direction of Flagg's house but dismissed it because commotions were commonplace in the neighborhood.

After spending the week at home, Flagg left for work Friday, and the woman made her bid for freedom. "She was able to work the rope loose enough to where she could move," said police Capt. James Hedrick.

"There's no information to suggest" that Flagg knew his victims, he said.

"This is a completely random act," Cunningham said.