Thuan Dinh and a California woman had been dating for a few months, spending visits during their long-distance relationship visiting casinos in Las Vegas and North Carolina, a Gwinnett County Special Victims Unit detective said. When Dinh brought the woman to a nearly vacant home in Gwinnett County on Thanksgiving, she was confused as to why.
They walked through the door and she asked Dinh again why they were there. He said nothing and shocked her with a Taser, the start of a 24-hour period of physical and sexual abuse, Officer Kim Riddle said at a Thursday afternoon hearing.
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Dinh, 39, is charged with rape, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, robbery, trafficking marijuana and possession of a schedule I controlled substance.
After shocking the victim for the first time on Nov. 23, Dinh took a diamond ring off her finger that was worth $88,000, the victim told police. Dinh also took a $30,000 receipt from the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas from the victim’s purse, Riddle said.
Dinh then put tissue paper in the victim’s mouth and covered her mouth and nose with duct tape, Riddle said. A bag was put over the victim’s head and sealed with duct tape. Her hands were bound in a prayer position with tape and a coat belt, and her feet were tied together with rope. She was brought into a basement and put in a sleeping bag, around which Dinh put more duct tape , Riddle said.
Periodically, Dinh would go to the basement “to see if she was alive,” Riddle said. If the woman made a sound, Dinh shocked her with the Taser, Riddle said. Police later found Taser marks “all over her body,” including on her breasts and genitals, Riddle said. Dinh also repeatedly choked the victim until she passed out.
“She realized he was waiting for her to die,” Riddle said.
The victim lost track of time when she was in the basement, unsure if she had been there for hours or days, Riddle said. She was gradually able to loosen her hand restraints enough to tear a hole in the bag over her head and slide the rope from around her ankles. When she saw daylight peeking through a window in the basement, she saw an opportunity to escape, Riddle said.
The victim broke open the window, which was sealed with a styrofoam-like material, and ran two houses down, Riddle said. The residents of the neighboring home called 911 when the victim appeared at their door on the morning of Friday, Nov. 24, naked besides the tape and rope on her hands and head.
Dinh was seen returning to the home where the victim was held that afternoon, about an hour after investigators had left, Riddle said. Police later learned the home was owned by a relative of Dinh’s second girlfriend, and the girlfriend had been renting it to him. Police found little in the home: two futons, a bare mattress, a duffel bag filled with 184 lbs. of marijuana, 28 grams of THC oil and the Taser left charging in the master bedroom.
The following day, Dinh checked into Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and attempted to use the victim’s debit card at the casino, Riddle said. Dinh checked out of the casino on Monday, Nov. 27, and police arrested him on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
Dinh has been held without bond at the Gwinnett County Detention Center since Nov. 30. The issue of bond was not addressed at the Dec. 14 hearing.
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An arrest warrant shows the man may have been after a very expensive diamond.