COUPEVILLE, Wash. -- A local woman claims her parents sold her to her husband for 30,000 pesos, trapping her in a life of abuse and misery.
The case, which prosecutors describe as "disturbing" and "shocking," came to light after police responded to a domestic violence call at the couple's Whidbey Island home.
Aaron Leyva said his 18-year-old neighbor knocked on his door at 2 a.m., distraught and begging for help.
"She came knocking at the door. She was almost like stripped of her clothes, pretty much," he said.
"She had bruises on her. Her clothes were torn," said Island County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme. "She indicated her husband had assaulted her."
The woman told police her husband forced himself on her and when she refused, he attacked her.
Police arrested Miguel Alvarez de Jesus, who claims it was his wife who had attacked him. His nephew told the same story. De Jesus pleaded not guilty to a domestic violence charge.
But the woman insists her husband attacked her, and not for the first time. She claims De Jesus treats her like he owns her, and for a disturbing reason.
"The victim told the officers that her husband purchased her for 30,000 pesos from her parents," said Ohme. The amount is equivalent to a little more than $2,000. "She indicated she can't leave her husband because her parents would owe the money, and they don't have the money to pay."
Complicating matters is the fact that the wife speaks no English or Spanish. She speaks Trique, a language spoken only by some 8,000 people, according to prosecutors.
De Jesus is being held in jail, awaiting a court date.
Prosecutors have no jurisdiction over the alleged sale of the woman since the sale was made in Mexico.
The woman and her two young children are staying in a safe haven.
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