Police: Calumet City man held women for weeks in trailer, Pine Township motel

2012-11-19T19:15:00Z 2012-11-20T14:24:03Z Police: Calumet City man held women for weeks in trailer, Pine Township motelJohn Scheibel john.scheibel@nwi.com; (219) 548-4358 nwitimes.com
November 19, 2012 7:15 pm  • 

PINE TOWNSHIP | Police arrested a man Monday morning who they said held two women at a Michigan City trailer and then a Pine Township motel.

James Skehan, 51, with addresses in Calumet City and Michigan City, faces initial charges of intimidation, criminal confinement, identity deception and battery.

Porter County police were called shortly after midnight Monday by a LaPorte County man who believed his ex-wife's life was in danger.

He told police his ex-wife had told him about being held for two weeks by Skehan and escaping Sunday night from the Blackhawk Motel, 3651 West Dunes Highway (U.S. 12) — only to return to the room, thinking it was safe. The caller told police his ex-wife believed Skehan had left the area after she escaped, so she returned to the motel. But Skehan returned also and held her again — even as police were at the door checking on her Monday morning.

Police said after several minutes of knocking on the door, the woman "exited the motel room in an apparent state of panic."

She told police she could hear them knocking but that Skehan was holding her down. When Skehan passed out, drunk, she was able to run out, police said.

Police said the woman had sought shelter with Skehan's wife because of her own marital problems about two weeks ago.

According to the woman's account, when Skehan's wife picked her up, Skehan was in the vehicle. The woman thought Skehan was in jail and said she wouldn't have called his wife for help had she known Skehan would be there.

She told police Skehan took both women to a trailer in Michigan City and beat both of them and would not let them leave. She told police he also threatened them with a knife.

She told police the beatings were so loud that a neighbor apparently called police in LaPorte County. According to Porter County police, the woman said Skehan covered both of their mouths and they were told not to answer the door.

Not long after police left, Skehan took the two women to the Blackhawk Motel. The woman told police they were there for about 10 days.

Police said Skehan sent his wife to buy beer Saturday, but she never returned. The woman said Skehan became paranoid that she would call police, so he left Sunday.

The woman told police she then left, but returned to the hotel room because she had no other place to go, and she thought Skehan had left the area to avoid arrest. 

But Skehan returned and pulled a knife on her.

A few minutes later, Porter County police arrived.

Police said the woman was bruised on the legs, back and arm and had a bump on her head.

Police said Skehan was found in the room lying face down on a bed on top of his knife.

He was taken into custody and initially gave police another man's name and birth date.

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