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‘It’s Pretty Scary…the New Dating World’: Houston Woman Allegedly Held Captive, Raped, Starved, Beaten with Screwdriver By Man She Met on App

A Texas man has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a woman he met on a dating app and torturing her for several days around the 2022 Christmas holiday.

The woman said not only was she sexually assaulted, but the 21-year-old also beat her and withheld both food and water from the victim.

On Thursday, Dec. 29, deputies with the Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 4 said a female patient at the Houston Methodist Spring Emergency Care Center, known only by the initials “J.W.” said she was a victim of a terrible assault that lasted over five days, starting on Christmas Eve, according to Law & Crime.

Bumble Suspect
Zachary Kent Mills is accused of kidnapping and assaulting a woman he met on a dating app. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/WRAL)

Court documents show Zachary Kent Mills met the woman on the Bumble dating app and wooed her into an online “romantic relationship.”

J.W. met Mills at his apartment and “immediately upon entering” he “attempted to start to have sexual intercourse” with her.

She rejected his advances, invoking his fury, an affidavit stated.

“When [J.W.] denied the defendant’s sexual advances, he immediately began to physically assault her and would not let her leave the residence,” the report stated, adding, “[J.W.] advised when he assaulted her, he would strike her using closed fist. Defendant would also bit her on the neck and face. [J.W.] stated when the defendant’s hands got tired from hitting her, he would grab a screwdriver and would strike her with the handle of the screwdriver causing serious bodily injury.”

The woman said she tried to escape a few times, but each time her effort was thwarted by Mills, who continued to abuse her. She was eventually able to escape after Mill’s left the apartment to go visit his father’s home.

According to the affidavit, “At that point [J.W.] gathered up her clothes and ran out the door and contacted the first people who she came in contact with and advised them of what had occurred.”

J.W. was taken to an emergency care unit and treated for “severe bruising to both eyes, bite marks and cuts to both her throat and nose and severe bruising to majority of her body.”

The victim was able to positively identify Mills to the authorities, and he was taken into custody on Dec. 30 and booked into the Harris County Jail. He has been charged with one count of aggravated kidnapping.

Since his arrest, Mills has posted a $50,000 bond. He is now on 24-hour house arrest and has denied all allegations against him.

Conditions of Mills’ bond state he is not permitted to come within 200 feet of where J.W. “lives, works, or attends school.”

“People are crazy,” one of Mills’ neighbors told WRAL. “It’s pretty scary with the new dating world only being you know mostly online.”

There are many dangers in meeting strangers from dating apps.

According to Phactual, one in 10 sex offenders meet new people on dating apps or websites. Another startling report states in 2005, 25 percent of people convicted of rape find their victims through online dating. Even more terrifying is the report says, “each year internet predators commit more than 16,000 abductions, 100 murders, and thousands of rapes.”

Rape Victim Alicia Franklin
Alicia Franklin alleges Memphis police ignored her rape case until the same suspect killed another woman. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/ Good Morning America)

One victim that recently made headlines was Alicia Franklin, a Black woman, who was blindfolded and raped by a man she met on a dating app. Her perpetrator was later identified after his DNA was discovered in another crime. Almost a year later he had abducted, assaulted, and murdered Eliza Fletcher, a billionaire’s granddaughter reported missing after not returning from her daily run.

Women are not the only ones at risk. In September 2022, a 21-year-old Black male was assaulted by a woman he met on the popular dating app Tinder. The woman allegedly stripped him naked, bound him in duct tape, choked him, and sliced him with a knife then she ordered something to eat on DoorDash before authorities could arrest her.

Bumble actually lists seven tips one should consider before going on a date with someone from a dating app, including meeting in a public space, telling someone about your date, keeping personal information private, and researching the person before connecting with the stranger.

Mills contends he and J.W. were actually in a relationship and that her story of being kidnapped and held against her will is fabricated.

“We have a very strong stance that a lot of these did not occur,” Chris Denuna, Mills’ lawyer said.

According to the attorney, J.W. and Mills were both in a relationship and had spent a lot of time as a couple together.

Mills is scheduled to appear before the court to further address his charges on March 3.

“I think that will show that there’s more to it in their relationship,” Denuna said. “I think it will show that there’s a history between them. That they’ve spent numerous occasions together amongst other people, whether it’s friends, family that can vouch for their relationship from what they’ve seen as a third-party witness, that can vouch for their characters.”

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