Mom assaulted, tied up; son and girlfriend arrested

Cory Wagner, Tiffany Chanthavong
Left: Cory Wagner. Right: Tiffany Chanthavong. (Winnebago County (Ill.) Sheriff's Office - July 5, 2016)

ASSYRIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man and his girlfriend were arrested after authorities say they assaulted the man’s 66-year-old mother, tied her up and locked her in a bathroom.

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office says the victim was severely assaulted by the pair Monday at her home in Assyria Township in the far southeast corner of the county. She was then threatened with a knife and bound with duct tape before being tied to a chair and locked in the bathroom. The suspects then stole her credit card and car.

The victim was eventually able to escape and call for help around midnight after she had been bound for about six hours, authorities say. She was taken to a Battle Creek Hospital. The extent of her injuries was not clear Tuesday.

“It’s horrific,” Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf said Tuesday afternoon. “I can’t imagine what his mother was going through.”

Investigators say they were able to track the suspects when they used the victim’s credit card in Rockford, Ill. After Barry County authorities confirmed where they were, Rockford police arrested the two at a hotel Tuesday morning, Leaf said. The stolen car was located in the parking lot and the suspects were arrested inside.

Barry County authorities did not release the suspects’ names Tuesday, but the Winnebago County (Ill.) Sheriff’s Office confirmed they are 27-year-old Cory Wagner and 21-year-old Tiffany Chanthavong.

Wagner and Chanthavong are being held in the Winnebago County jail pending extradition hearings, which are set for Wednesday afternoon. They are charged with assault with intent to commit murder and unlawful imprisonment.

The victim’s neighbor said she had helped the victim deal with issues involving her son and his girlfriend before.

“She’d tell me she was afraid. She came right out and said that she was afraid,” Gail Robinson told 24 Hour News 8. “It really upsets me that somebody I know that close… She could’ve died.”


Court records show Wagner was already facing criminal charges of unlawful imprisonment and assault with a dangerous weapon out of Ottawa County at the time of the Monday incident. He allegedly used a knife against Chanthavong at a home in Holland Township in April. As part of his bond, Wagner was ordered to have no contact with his Chanthavong.

However, a Barry County police report details a June 19 incident involving Wagner, his mother and Chanthavong. Officers responded after Wagner’s mother called 911 from a neighbor’s house. She said her son and his girlfriend had recently moved in with her and that they had assaulted her a couple days before. She said she didn’t immediately go to police because her son was already on probation. She showed officers text messages she said were sent by Chanthavong from her son’s phone in which Chanthavong threatened her if she didn’t do what they told her.

Barry County officers arrested Wagner for a bond violation because he was with Chanthavong and took Chanthavong back to Holland. Wagner was arraigned on the bond violation and told once again not to have contact with Chanthavong. He was scheduled to be in court Wednesday morning for that bond violation.

–24 Hour News 8’s Leon Hendrix contributed to this report.

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