Montgomery Co., IA -- Red Oak authorities are looking for a man who's accused of dousing a woman in gasoline, and threatening to set her on fire.
57-year-old William Elliott is wanted on charges of kidnapping, and attempted murder. Police say he forced 22-year-old Shelby Schmitz into his basement of his Red Oak home where he doused her in gas, and threatened to start the fire. She fought back and escaped.
"There were no burns from any flame,” said Red Oak Police Chief Drue Powers. "She's extremely fortunate it could've turned out to be a very very bad situation."
Police got a search warrant for Elliott's home he was gone by the time they showed up. They found evidence to corroborate the victim's story, as well as several items related to drug use in the home. Neighbors say they saw people come and go pretty frequently.
John Gustin lives next door, and has known Elliott since he moved in about five years ago. He couldn't believe what happened.
"I didn't know what to think, it surprised me,” Gustin explained. "I always got along good with him."
Police say they have a long history with Elliott, and he's been picked up on drug charges before. He pleaded guilty to Harassment by Communication. On October 29th he was sentenced to a suspended 30 day jail sentence. Court documents reveal that the victim posted bond for Elliot two months ago in this case. A different woman was the victim of the harassment.
The victim's family says she's doing better after the attack. Authorities don't know why this happened, but say Schmitz and Elliott were acquaintances.
Authorities believe Elliott may be in the Red Oak area, or could be in Omaha or Council Bluffs.
"With the mindset of anybody that would do something like this, we don't know what he's capable of," Chief Powers concluded.
Elliott should be considered dangerous. You shouldn’t approach him if you see him but instead contact your local authorities. You can also call the Red Oak Police Department at 712-623-6500, or Montgomery County Crime Stoppers at 800-432-1001.