One-word text sends advocacy group to the rescue of Oregon mother, infant

Posted at 5:17 PM, Jan 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-20 19:17:35-05

By KPTV Staff

Clatskanie, OR (KPTV) — A woman and her infant are now safe and a 34-year-old Clatskanie man is in jail thanks in part of a domestic violence advocacy group.

Jeremiah Crothers is facing charges of attempted murder and domestic violence following an incident with his girlfriend and the couple’s son Tuesday.

Court records paint a picture of a controlling man with a girlfriend who was trapped at home and not allowed to talk to other people.

The documents state that sometime Tuesday Crothers smothered his 7-month-old, who began to flail his legs and turn blue.

The court records state that the infant’s mother thought “Crothers was going to kill their son, so she grabbed a frying pan hitting his head.”

Later that night, the documents continued, Crothers complained that the woman did not season chicken properly, so he grabbed her hand and forced them into the boiling oil.

Following that act, the woman sent a one-word text to the team at SAVE, Survivors Against Violence and Exploitation.

“That was definitely the final straw,” SAVE co-founder Serena Sanders said.

“She sent us her code word and we immediately made a call,” co-founder Andrew Sanders added.

The Sanders told FOX 12 the woman had been in contact with the group earlier prior to the incident earlier this week.

“She reached out and said, ‘Hey I’m interested in relocating,” Serena Sanders said. “We hadn’t heard from her for a couple days, so we were worried about her because he was escalating a little bit.”

After getting the text Tuesday night, the Sanders immediately alerted deputies then drove three hours to Clatskanie, telling FOX 12 they knew it was time to get Crothers’ girlfriend and son out of the house.

The Sanders said she is now recovering from the attack, which left her with minor burns.

Even though this mother and her child are now safe, the advocates say this is a situation they see all too often.

“A lot of the times you’ll see survivors that are reliant on their abusers,” Serena Sanders said. “She wasn’t allowed to contact anyone, she wasn’t allowed to reach out to people. The only time she actually was able to talk to anyone was when he left for work, and that’s assuming he hadn’t broken her phone which he had done a few times.”

Columbia County deputies said the SAVE advocates played a key role in the case, noting it was their warning that prompted a welfare check leading to Crothers’ arrest.

The Sanders said they are thankful Crothers is in custody. They said his girlfriend is “very strong” and hope that now she and her son will be free from threats of violence.

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