Texas torture victim calls survival 'miracle'

WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) -- After searching more than a week for a woman who seemingly vanished after her house burned down, authorities finally got a lead: Jeffrey Allan Maxwell.He had just cashed a $500 check from her, and his car matched the description of one seen driving down the rural road the day of the fire, but Maxwell hadn't lived in the area in years. On that Friday last March, Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler could have waited until Monday to send his investigators some 100 miles away to Corsicana - after all, it was a gamble. But in his gut, Fowler knew they had to act fast.When investigators knocked on Maxwell's door the next day, Lois Pearson was inside, praying. Since her abduction 12 days earlier, she had been chained to the bed every night. She had been whipped and sexually assaulted on a bar with hooks for skinning hogs and deer. When Maxwell left the house, he kept her shackled and gagged and once locked her in a wooden box. Maxwell had told her that she soon wouldn't believe in God anymore.But Pearson wasn't restrained that day and ran outside a few minutes after Maxwell went on the porch to talk to authorities - who were stunned to see her. They had no idea she'd been kidnapped March 1; her house was torched March 3. It was the beginning of the end of her ordeal, which finally was over Wednesday when Maxwell was sentenced to life in prison.\I want you to know there is a God

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