HOUSTON (KNOE) – Authorities have released more details about the woman who sparked worldwide concern after she was seen ringing a doorbell late at night in a viral video out of Texas. According to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the woman in the video is believed to be the victim of a sexual assault, as many people suspected.
Photo: Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office
The video was recorded last week north of Houston outside a house in the Sunrise Ranch Subdivision. It shows an unidentified woman ringing a doorbell late at night, wearing only a t-shirt and some kind of restraints on her wrists.
On Sunday, August 26th, the video was released to the public as investigators turned to you for help on identifying the woman. The video sparked curiosity and concern across the world as people wondered who the woman was. Why was she ringing doorbells in the middle of the night? Was she in danger? And where did she go?
Days passed. People around the country hoped that the woman might be a family member reported missing and called investigators. As it turns out, the woman was not related to any missing person case investigators could identify.
Wednesday, after the video went viral, officers were called back to the Sunrise Ranch Subdivision on a welfare check. When they arrived, they met with a woman who said that her ex-husband sent her text messages that concerned her. She believed that her ex’s girlfriend was the woman in the doorbell video and that he may have hurt himself. This man was later identified as 49-year-old Dennis Ray Collins.
Deputies tried to call Collins. They knocked on his door. There was no response. They say they had no choice but to force their way into the home. Inside, they found Collins in bed, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They also found evidence and text messages that the man’s girlfriend was the woman in the video and information that indicated that Collins’ felt responsible for what happened.
The investigation led detectives to look for the woman in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Texas Rangers met with the woman and confirmed that she was the woman in the video by describing what happened to her. Authorities believe the two were in a consensual relationship. They had lived in the area for around 4 months.
The woman told detectives that she had been restrained, but was freed or got free and left Collins’ home to get help. She said she rang the doorbells at two homes, but when she couldn’t get help, she returned to Collins’ house on her own. Shortly afterward, she said she packed some things and left for Dallas. It’s unclear how long the woman was restrained before she fled. She did not contact authorities afterward.
Since the woman is believed to be a sexual assault victim, her name is not being released. Authorities described her current condition as distressed, embarrassed, and shocked. They say she is safe now.
Authorities say they will continue to investigate this incident.