Joey Grundl didn’t know what he had stumbled into, but it was clear the woman at the door was in trouble.
As the Sheboygan Press reports, 55-year-old Dean Hoffman of Waldo, Wisconsin had made his ex-partner a prisoner in her own home. According to Fox 6 News, on Thursday afternoon, Hoffman forced his way into the home of a 57-year-old woman, whom he lived with until August 2018.
Once inside, Hoffman took the woman’s phone, dragged her upstairs, and punched her in the face for resisting. He then used the cord from the vacuum to bind her hands and feet and stuffed a towel in her mouth to keep her quiet.
The woman began to fear for her life. Though Hoffman soon untied her, he refused to let her leave, at one point reportedly telling her that he, “should have brought his gun in from the car so that he could shoot both of them.”
Using the woman’s cell phone, Hoffman texted her children. He pretended to be the victim and told her family she was sick and they should stay away from her house for a few days. The woman later told investigators that she “truly believed [he] was going to kill her that night.”
Salvation came in the form of a Domino’s delivery driver.
When Grundl showed up at the door to deliver a pizza to the couple, he noticed the woman standing behind Hoffman, quietly signalling for help. He told Fox 6:
“It’s kind of scary. Gave him his pizza, and noticed behind him was his girlfriend. She pointed to a black eye that was quite visible. She mouthed the words ‘call police.’”
Hoffman finished the delivery and walked away. The next call he made was to 911. He gave the dispatcher the address of the delivery, adding that woman at the door, “clearly had a black eye. She pointed to it, and I swear she mouthed ‘help me.’”
Grundl’s call sent police to the woman’s home. When authorities arrived, Hoffman wouldn’t let the woman answer the door. From outside, the officers could hear the woman yelling screaming, “Help me,” and, “Please come in.”
Eventually, the police were able to enter the home and help the woman. Hoffman was arrested and charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, burglary, felony intimidation, and strangulation and suffocation. He told authorities he had a .22 caliber firearm in his trunk.
The woman is now safe and recovering thanks to Grundl’s actions. As one neighbor told Fox 6, “I’m grateful [the delivery driver] was paying attention, because it could have been a lot worse.”