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Police: Wife found dead, husband who kidnapped her wounded

JOE MANDAK
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — A western Pennsylvania woman kidnapped by her husband — who was awaiting trial on charges he kidnapped, beat and held her captive for nearly two weeks earlier this summer — has been found dead in a barn, while he’s been hospitalized with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, state police said Wednesday.

This undated driver's license photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shows Kevin Ewing of West Finley Township, Pa. Pennsylvania State Police say Ewing, a man free on bond while awaiting trial on charges he beat his wife Tierne Ewing while holding her captive for nearly two weeks, kidnapped her again at gunpoint Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, from a residence in West Finley Township, Pa., about 50 miles southwest of Pittsburgh along the West Virginia border. (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation via AP)

Troopers contend Kevin Ewing, 47, abducted Tierne Ewing, 48, at gunpoint from a home in West Finley Township about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Eight hours later, police found the car they’d been in abandoned near a wooded area and spent much of the day searching for the couple.

By 9 p.m. Tuesday, police surrounded a barn in West Finley Township several miles from where the woman was abducted. After forcing their way in, police found Tierne Ewing dead and her husband alive, but with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A press release Wednesday offered few details but said Tierne Ewing “died as a result of an apparent gunshot wound.” Kevin Ewing was taken to an unspecified hospital, and no information on his condition was released. The Washington County coroner hasn’t formally ruled on her death.

This undated driver's license photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shows Tierne Ewing of West Finley Township, Pa. (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation via AP)

The case has raised questions about the way authorities handled charges pending against Kevin Ewing, who allegedly abducted her and held her captive from June 26 to July 8.

Tierne Ewing told police her husband beat and pistol-whipped her, spat on her, kept her hands tied with wire and branded her legs with a piece of hot metal, according to a criminal complaint charging him with kidnapping, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, false imprisonment and other crimes.

Police: Man intimidated wife with chainsaw

Tierne Ewing had staples closing a cut on her head — a home remedy, not hospital-administered — that she told police was caused when her husband hit her with a wooden gun stock. She escaped when her husband sent her into a credit union to withdraw money. She told tellers she was being held captive and they called police, who arrested Kevin Ewing in a vehicle outside, armed with a rifle, handgun and knife.

When he unexpectedly posted $100,000 bond on July 11, a prosecutor asked a judge to put him back in jail given the seriousness of the offenses, Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said.

The (Washington) Observer-Reporter says Common Pleas Judge Gary Gilman wouldn’t raise the bond amount — which would have put Ewing back in jail — but he did order Ewing confined to his home without weapons and made him wear an electronic ankle bracelet.

In this July 26, 2016 photo, Kevin Lee Ewing, left, leaves with one of his attorneys after a preliminary hearing with District Judge Jay Weller in Canonsburg, Pa. Ewing's case was to go to court on charges including kidnapping and aggravated assault. Katie Roupe /Observer-Reporter

The newspaper reported the judge ordered that the bracelet have GPS capabilities to track Ewing’s movements, though adult probation officials have told The Associated Press the device was only programmed to alert authorities if Ewing left his home. Authorities couldn’t immediately resolve that discrepancy Wednesday.

Trooper Stefani Plume has said Ewing cut off the ankle device and left it at home before abducting his wife early Tuesday.

Tierne Ewing’s father said Kevin Ewing had harmed his daughter numerous times.

“She was scared to death of him. He threatened her all the time, and he beat her up several times,” Richard Kopko said after authorities told him his daughter was dead. “July wasn’t the worst. She’s been beat so bad before.”

“She told me years ago, ‘Dad, if you can’t ever find me, I’ll be buried on his dad’s farm,’” Kopko said.

Police have not yet charged Ewing in his wife’s death.