Tortured Woman Back from the Dead

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On July 2, Brisbane police arrived at a unit in Bulimba, an Australian suburb, to find a 21-year-old woman in a horrific condition. She suffered extensive burns, a broken nose, eye socket and ribs, chemical burns to her throat, and a hole on the side of her head. Her appearance and smell led officers to believe the young woman was dead.

Then she moaned.

Officers rushed Tanya Nicole Roberts to a hospital where she was placed in an induced coma. Her survival is nothing short of a miracle. Someone didn’t just intend to harm her, or simply kill her. Someone set out to brutalize, disfigure, and torment her. Now that the woman’s condition was stable, it was time to track down the culprit.

After an exciting chase, police arrested John Crilley, 31, and charged him with torture, intent to disfigure, intent to cause grievous bodily harm, deprivation of liberty, and unlawfully supplying a dangerous drug. Police also arrested and charged former professional soccer player Jeromy Lee Harris, 41, for assisting Crilley after the fact.

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So, what the hell happened?

On June 29, investigators believe that Roberts was injured by Crilley at a hotel and then driven to Harris’ home in Bulimba. A security camera apparently caught Crilley carrying a “human-sized object” to a vehicle. They believe that Roberts was beaten, tortured, knocked out, tossed in the trunk of a car, dumped at a former pro-soccer player’s house, and left for dead.

So, where does Harris fit in? Text messages allegedly show that Harris knew that Roberts was at his home and that she had been burned. “He knew she smelt like death,” said Sergeant Matt Kahler in court.

But that begs the question, why would Harris allow Crilley to drop a strange, injured woman off at his house? Harris’ lawyer argues that he was only aware of the young woman’s injuries in a “general sense.” But that doesn’t exactly feel like a satisfactory answer.

Magistrate John Costello from denied Harris’ bail, saying that he had not “acted with any humanity.” Both Harris and Crilley will reappear in court on August 7.