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Tampa Police searching for Leon Washington, accused of torturing and imprisoning girlfriend for six days

5:54 PM, Jan 5, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- A manhunt is on for a person who Tampa police say imprisoned and tortured his girlfriend for nearly a week.

From the outside it may seem like a typical home, but police say over the Christmas holiday, the house at 3419 East Deleuil Avenue in Tampa was a house of horrors.

"You'll see that every door and window has burglar bars and every exterior door was locked with a double key dead-bolt," says Sgt. Bill Todd, "and he held the only key."

Now investigators are asking for the public's help to find 41-year-old Leon Washington.

Detectives day on December 23rd and for six days after that, Washington sexually assaulted and tortured his girlfriend using an ice pick, clothing iron, knife and other sharp tools.

"He cut her hair. There was literally a plastic shopping bag full of her hair that he had cut from her head using shears you would normally normally trim plants with," said Sgt. Todd.

The woman's 6-year-old daughter was also present, say police. Washington allegedly hit and spit on her as well, but the child did not suffer any serious physical injuries. She sadly was also witness to her mother's abuse.

"She shared a lot of that with us and I'm certain she has some very bad memories," said Sgt. Todd.

Neighbors who heard about the case say they had no idea what was allegedly going on. Chris Watson, who lives two doors away, never suspected anything suspicious.

"No one told us. We didn't hear anything out of the ordinary," he said.

Next-door neighbor Fred Harris says the allegations are even harder to believe, since he thinks he recalls seeing the alleged victim outside the house that week.

"He's inside, I'm outside. I can't tell you what was going on inside, but I'd seen her come in and out of the house," said Harris. "She didn't look like she was abused. She walked the dog and everything."

Police say the victim received numerous cuts and burns.

Washington, they say, had ordered her not to seek medical attention but when a relative came by to visit, she took the victim to a family member's house. There, police eventually convinced her to go to the hospital.

"And that was under armed police escort," said Sgt. Todd. "That's how scared she is."

The victim is expected to recover, but now fears for her life.

Washington is still on the loose. Police say he has a violent criminal history and should be considered armed and dangerous. 

Anyone with tips on Washington's whereabouts is asked to call the investigators directly.  Call Deputy U.S. Marshal Ron Lindbak at 813-299-6982 or Tampa Police officer Ron Simpson at 813-394-9053.

Callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,500.

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