Woman under house arrest uses electronic ankle bracelet to report assault

The victim said she had no phone, no other options

VERO BEACH, Fla. - Rebecca Hamilton, 25, found herself in trouble twice in one week. First, she was convicted of theft and sentenced to house arrest for ten days. Second, she told police she was assaulted by her boyfriend, Thomas Hope, 29, just after midnight last Saturday.

Part of Hamilton's theft sentence required her to see Harry Jones, with the Courts Program of Florida, so her ankle could be fitted with an electronic-monitoring bracelet. "She thought that she wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the device," said Jones.

During the alleged assault, police said an intoxicated Hope locked Hamilton out of her own home with Hamilton's two young children still inside with the suspect. Hamilton was told only to press the emergency button on her bracelet if her life was truly in danger. With no cell phone and no way to call for help, she reached down for that ankle bracelet.

Hamilton summoned help the only way she could, she told police, reaching a 24-hour Secure Alert dispatch center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dispatchers there quickly alerted authorities in Vero Beach. "We were actually hearing her voice and hearing her being battered. You could hear the battering," said Jones. Within minutes police arrived, taking Hope into custody. Police said they could see redness and bruising on Hamilton's face and throat. "For her to be here today safe with her children is very ironic," said Jones.

The male suspect was released on $5,000 bond, and charged with felony battery. The female victim, meanwhile, has recovered and had the electronic monitoring bracelet removed after fulfilling the ten-day requirement with authorities. Her children were unharmed.

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