October 08, 2012
Valerie says that for nearly four years, her husband, Chris, kept her trapped like a prisoner inside a “house of horror,” physically and emotionally abused her and forced her to live in inhumane conditions, feeding her just one plate of food a day. She says she had to urinate in cups and defecate on plates, and was confined to a waste-filled bedroom. A frail and emotionally-scarred Valerie sits down with Dr. Phil to describe her experience. How does she say her nightmare finally came to an end, just weeks ago? And, where is Chris now? Follow Dr. Phil cameras inside the home where Valerie says she was terrorized — what’s inside shocked our Dr. Phil producers and crew, and may shock you. Plus, Valerie explains why, despite the door being unlocked, she did not try to run. Then, hear from Valerie’s mom, Barbara, who says she knew her daughter was being verbally abused but felt powerless to stop it. Did she try contacting police?
When Valerie first married Chris, she says they were very happy, and she thought the relationship would “last forever.” But soon after, she says everything changed, and Chris became abusive. “I never saw this coming,” she says.
Valerie says for the past nearly four years, Chris kept her trapped inside their home — like a wild animal being kept from the outside world — and physically and emotionally abused her. She says she was confined to a bedroom that was riddled with trash and human waste, and that for two years, she wore the same clothes. “There were bugs because of the food rotting,” she says of the room. “Whenever I would try to get out of that room, he would always be there, pushing me back in.” She says she developed obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and other mental illnesses and began having trouble doing everyday tasks, like getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom. “He would make me urinate in the cup,” she explains. “There were weeks and weeks and weeks of urine, and the smell would just get increasingly worse; and it was really, really nasty.”
“He did whatever he could to upset me,” Valerie says. She says as time went on, the abuse worsened. “Whenever he would hit me, he would always hit me in the head.” Valerie says Chris would choke her, push her against the wall and “muzzle” her by putting his hand over her mouth. “I just couldn’t breathe; I could feel that there was just no oxygen left, and I thought I was going to die.”
Valerie says her nightmare ended on August 22, 2012, when police rescued her from her house. She says officers were in her neighborhood to investigate reports of gunshots, and they knocked on her door during a routine check and searched her home. “You could tell by their expressions that they just couldn’t believe what they were seeing,” she says. Valerie says she admitted to police that her husband had been abusing her, and she was sent to a hospital for treatment. The next day, Chris turned himself in to authorities.
Dr. Frank Lawlis, chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board offers Valerie treatment for her psychological, neurological and nutritional issues. “For all those things, we need to heal your brain, we need to help your anxiety, we need to create where you can return to a normal life,” Dr. Lawlis tells Valerie. He says that hyperbaric chamber therapy “forces oxygen into your brain and heals it,” and he feels it would be an ideal treatment for her situation.
Dr. Phil also introduces Miles Adcox, CEO and owner of Onsite Workshops in Tennessee, who offers Valerie treatment through his company’s healing trauma programs. Dr. Phil explains that the programs can help address the emotional pain and compulsive behavior cycles that follow a traumatic experience, such as the one Valerie describes.
Since traveling is difficult and overwhelming for Valerie, professional patient transporter Jennifer Gehman, from SoberEscorts.com, offers to provide her a safe and competent companion.
Valerie graciously accepts the offers.
Chris is charged with simple assault, involuntary servitude and false imprisonment and is currently out on bail, awaiting trial. When Dr. Phil producers attempted to contact Chris’ attorney regarding the allegations, he provided the following statement via his assistant: “Pennsylvania ethics preclude him from discussing any open cases.”