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Tunnelton man in custody after alleged assault

A Preston County man is in custody after allegedly assaulting a female victim who ultimately had to be life-flighted for emergency care.

According to the criminal complaint, deputies from the Preston County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to a reported unresponsive female who had been battered.  

Once on scene, deputies noted they were able to see both the victim and a male suspect identified as Leonard Ray Baker, 47, of Tunnelton, through a window and “it appeared they were unconscious.”

Deputies then entered and approached the female victim, whom the complaint states “had significant facial trauma including dried blood around her mouth and nose, both eyes were contused and swollen shut, and her nose was swollen.”

Deputies attempted to wake the woman, but were unable to do so and had to carry her out of the building to a safe location, while taking Baker into custody.

Baker allegedly admitted to deputies that the victim had been in his company, but he was not sure of her current location.

The complaint states a witness told deputies they had given the victim a ride the previous day and didn’t see any injuries on her at the time.

Deputies obtained Baker’s criminal history, which they said contained a large number of violent crimes and previous domestic crimes.

Captain T.N. Tichnell, who filed the charges, said it was also discovered the victim had previous domestic violence protective orders against Baker, who had been previously released on a bond that did not allow contact with the victim.

The victim was transported by KAMP Ambulance to a landing zone, where she was taken by helicopter for emergency care.  

“While she was transported, EMS was forced to intubate her in an effort to protect her airway to save her life,” the complaint said.  Her current condition is unavailable at this time.

Baker was charged with malicious assault and is being held on $500,000 cash-only bond at Tygart Valley Regional Jail. 

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