DRIPPING SPRINGS — A woman allegedly kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend early Monday apparently escaped by persuading the man she would run away with him if she could first go home to pack a suitcase.
Instead, the victim, 23-year-old Lorri Chase, alerted detectives that her alleged kidnapper would be returning to her Dripping Springs home where deputies were waiting when he arrived, Hays County Sheriff’s deputy Stephen Traeger said on Wednesday.
Aaron Joseph Hoes, a 29-year-old Austin resident, is being held at the Hays County jail, charged with aggravated kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. He is also being held on a Blanco County theft charge and a Travis County controlled substance possession charge.
He is being held on the Hays County charges on $80,000 bail set by Justice of the Peace Joanne Prado. Bail for the Travis and Blanco county charges is set at $10,000 each.
The ordeal started sometime before 3:30 a.m. Monday when deputies responding to reports of a possible kidnapping found a white truck abandoned on the side of the road near the intersection of U.S. 290 and Tiger Lane. The vehicle’s engine was still running and Chase’s purse was lying on the ground outside the open passenger’s side door, Traeger said. Body damage to the driver’s side of Chase’s truck suggested it had been rammed by another vehicle.
Investigators searched the area for hours for Hoes, whose name they learned from Chase’s friends. At about 10:15 a.m., Pam Chase called the sheriff’s office and said her daughter had been dropped off at their house by Hoes.
Taken to a sheriff’s substation to be interviewed, Lorri Chase told investigators that she “convinced Hoes that she would leave with him if she could get clothes from her mother’s house. Hoes agreed and dropped her off,” Traeger said.
Under the Texas Penal Code, aggravated kidnapping is a first-degree felony if the victim is not voluntarily released in a safe place; a conviction could land Hoes in prison for five years to life. Aggravated assault is a second degree felony carrying a possible prison sentence of two to 20 years.
Records state that Hoes has 10 pending criminal court cases in Hays County including charges of possession of a firearm by a felony, a third-degree felony, and theft of property valued between $1,500 and $20,000, a state jail felony.
COVER PHOTO by DENISE ROWLANDS. MERCURY ILLUSTRATION by BRAD ROLLINS.