Saved By Debt: Bill Collector Saves Woman Held Hostage

Graphic by CBS News

VICTORVILLE, Calif (AP) A California woman didn't make her car payments and it may have saved her life.

Investigators say the woman was held hostage in her home by an ex-boyfriend when she received a chance visit from a bill collector trying to collect payments on her car.

San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Mark James says the debt collector knocked on the door Wednesday. The 30-year-old woman answered, scribbled the word "help" and her ex's name, Miguel Rios.

When the debt collector asked if she was OK, the woman cried and whispered that Rios had a gun and was holding her hostage.

Deputies were called and the 28-year-old Rios was arrested. The woman, held since Sunday, had bite marks and bruises, including marks on her neck where Rios allegedly tried to strangle her.

Rios was booked for investigation of false imprisonment and making terrorist threats, among other allegations.