After a Texas woman met a man on the dating and networking app Bumble and started up a relationship with him, the pair agreed to meet for what she thought was a date at his apartment.
The woman said she was forced to stay at the apartment for five days before she escaped. Authorities in Harris County, Tex., arrested Mills on Dec. 30, charging him with first-degree aggravated kidnapping, Constable Mark Herman announced on social media Tuesday.
Mills’s attorney, Chris Denuna, told The Washington Post that his client pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. Denuna called the allegations “egregious.”
“These are allegations,” he added. “Our Constitution affords everybody due process, which means he’s presumed innocent.”
Bumble did not respond to a request from The Post but said in a statement to KPRC it was “shocked and saddened” to hear about the incident.
“We blocked this member as soon as we were made aware of this situation and in accordance with our Community Guidelines,” the company said. “We also have a dedicated law enforcement team available to respond to any requests from law enforcement as needed.”
A man and three friends lured gay men on Grindr to rob and assault them, federal officials say: ‘Bigots often lurk online’
From Dec. 24 to Dec. 29, the woman, whom officials have not identified, was not given any food or water, according to the charging document in the case.
Over the course of the first five days, she tried to escape. But she was unable to leave the apartment and was repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted, the document alleges.
On Dec. 29, Mills left to visit his father’s house, according to the document. The woman then gathered her clothes and ran, finding help from a neighbor in the apartment complex, the document states.
That same day, deputies from the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 went to the apartment complex after receiving a call and started investigating the incident.
The woman had “serious bodily injury,” according to the constable’s office. After deputies arrived, she was taken to a hospital for treatment.
On Dec. 30, deputies executed a warrant to search Mills’s apartment. They arrested him that day.
Mills has since been released on a $50,000 bond with conditions including wearing a GPS monitor, remaining under 24-hour house arrest and refraining from being within 200 feet of the woman’s residence, workplace or school, according to court filings.
Denuna said prosecutors had asked for a $100,000 bond and Mills’s previous defense attorney argued for $20,000. The judge settled on an amount in between, Denuna said, taking into account that Mills has “no criminal history, especially no history of violence.”
In its Jan. 3 announcement, the constable’s office said additional charges may be forthcoming.
Mills’s next court date is March 3, Denuna said.