WATERBURY, Vt. — The estranged wife of Everett Simpson — who police say abducted a woman in Manchester, raped her and then went on a multi-state crime spree last weekend — said he tried desperately to get to her, but didn’t know where she lived.
“He texted me more than 20 times on Saturday and said ‘I am bleeding bad, so I need to see you.’ It wasn’t true. I am a nurse and a caring person and it would be hard not to go and help him, but I couldn’t say where I was,” Sherise Simpson said during a telephone interview with the Union Leader.
She has been separated from her husband since September after nine years of marriage and two children.
Authorities say on Saturday afternoon, Everett Simpson forced a 25-year-old woman and her son into a car at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, drove to Vermont, sexually assaulted the woman and the next day was arrested in Upper Darby, Pa., after a manhunt and car chase.
The 41-year-old St. Johnsbury man faces extradition to Vermont and federal charges related to car theft, kidnapping and sexual assault.
Sherise Simpson said she feels for the rape victim, who police say was abducted and terrorized.
“I hope she will get better and feel better. If I could, what I would say to her is, ‘Thank you.’ I want her to know that she had saved my life,” Simpson said. “I am hopeful she gets the same supports I have.”
According to court affidavits, Simpson was furious, believing that his wife was cheating on him; authorities worried he might try to kill her.
Simpson escaped from a court-ordered drug treatment center — Valley Vista in Bradford, Vt. — stole a car, abducted the woman in Manchester and then forced her to drive to Fairlee and Bradford, Vt.
“Everett knows I have an uncle in Bradford, but again he didn’t have his address. I think that’s why he headed there,” she said.
“After texting me repeatedly he called me around noon on Saturday and said he was going to kill himself. That’s something he has said before to get my attention and sympathy,” she said.
At that point Sherise Simpson said she contacted family members and police to report the contact.
“My sister made me promise I was going to turn my phone off, turn my locator off so he couldn’t find me and not go to him,” she recalled.
She credits WISE, an anti-domestic violence group in the Upper Valley based in Lebanon, with helping her stay safe and out of harm’s way since her husband had gone to prison.
“She was so smart to get him to go to a hotel with her because there would be cameras there,” Simpson said of the rape victim. “I never could have imagined in a million years he would have done those things.”
While in prison, she said Everett Simpson sent her more than 100 letters to a post office box she had given him. Simpson was at the drug treatment center under court-ordered conditions of release following his arrest in September for a vehicle theft, high-speed pursuit and aggravated assault on a Vermont trooper in Lyndonville.
In a timeline of the disappearance of Everett Simpson, Vermont State Police now say investigators should have sought an arrest warrant after being alerted to Simpson’s Jan. 4 disappearance, then sent an alert to other police agencies and issued a news release.
A Vermont state trooper was placed on paid administrative leave on Tuesday, the same day authorities said more could have been done to find Simpson.
Sean Brennan has been a trooper for seven years. He was on duty at the St. Johnsbury barracks the night Simpson left the Bradford treatment center.
Initially Vermont authorities said they were never notified Simpson had left the treatment center, but officials said on Tuesday that after Simpson left Valley Vista, administrators had contacted police.
State police officials said personnel rules prevent them from saying if the action taken against Brennan was related to Simpson.
Now that Everett Simpson is behind bars, Sherise Simpson said she can start enjoying life again.
“I am able to go to therapy, go to the store by myself, drive my own car. These are normal things I wasn’t able to do before,” she said.
“I am having a girls’ night out tonight, which we haven’t had for a while.”