A telemarketer making a sales call from Las Vegas helped to end a domestic violence situation 900 miles away in Oregon on Wednesday evening, according law enforcement officials.
Chamille McElroy of Americare Health & Nutrition placed a call to a woman in Lebanon, Oregon, but instead of a “hello” she heard what sounded like a violent struggle on the other end of the line.
McElroy alerted her supervisor, Tina Garcia; then her boss Mario Gonzalez, CEO of Americare, stepped in. Gonzalez says he was walking around the sales floor when one of his managers asked him to listen to a call, and what he heard was very traumatic.
Call center workers say they heard a woman screaming for her life and yelling “please don’t kill me,” according to a press release from the Linn County (Oregon) Sheriff’s Office.
“It just got progressively worse,” Gonzalez told CNN affiliate KLAS in Las Vegas.
“We were not going to hang up this phone on the young lady,” said Garcia. “As far as I was concerned, the people in that room — we were the only lifeline.”
Gonzalez was about to call Las Vegas police, but decided to look up local Oregon officials. He alerted the Linn County Sheriff’s office, which dispatched personnel to check out the home.
“When deputies arrived on scene a female was heard calling for help, while a male voice could be heard saying ‘quiet,’ ” according to the press release.
Deputies reported seeing 33-year-old Walter Warren John Ruck holding a woman from behind when they entered the home. Ruck let go of the woman, who was crying and grasping for air, according to officers.
Officials are not releasing the name of the victim. After an investigation, deputies learned the woman claimed she was physically assaulted and smothered with blankets and pillows during the alleged attack.
The victim told officials Ruck threatened her with a rifle, shoving the stock of the gun into her chest, according to the press release. She said she feared for her life and was convinced Ruck wanted to kill her and himself. The woman’s cell phone was in her back pocket during the attack and she wasn’t aware that someone called the police.
Gonzalez said the arresting officer called him back to thank him. Deputies credited Gonzales for intervening and possibly saving the woman’s life.
Ruck was booked into the Linn County Jail on charges of assault, menacing and strangulation.
CNN reached out to Ruck’s attorney, Mark Heslinga, for comment but has not heard back.