Shackled Woman Running From Sexual Assault
The shackled woman who frantically rang a doorbell was running away from abusive boyfriend. In this image, a police CCTV camera observes a woman walking in the Embankment area of central London, April 4, 2007. Getty Images/Leon Neal

The mystery behind a shackled woman, who was caught on surveillance footage frantically ringing a doorbell with restrains dangling from her hands, was solved when it was discovered she was fleeing a convicted felon with a history of sexual assault and was looking for help.

The woman was reportedly escaping her abusive boyfriend Dennis Ray Collins, 49. Collins, who was arrested in 2000 for attempted sexual assault, shot himself to death after the video of the woman went viral, reported Daily Mail.

In 2000, according to court documents, he plead guilty to second-degree felony and was punished with five years of probation.

The 32-year-old woman in the video rang a bell at a home in the suburban street in Montgomery, Texas, early Friday morning. However, she ran away before the homeowner, Jennie Drude, came to the door. On checking his doorbell security camera, he saw the video of a woman dressed in a shirt without pants or shoes.

The police said the woman proceeded to ring at least two other doorbells in the street next to the house with the video camera, before she got in a car and drove to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“What exactly occurred up to then I don't know, but her allegations of sexual assault are being taken seriously and are being investigated right now. She was in distress,” Lt Scott Spencer of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

The woman was reported to be safe with her family at the moment.

According to the Daily Mail, the woman said the shackles were “restraints commonly used in private intimate encounters.”

Police said if Collins was alive, he would have faced serious charges.

“If he were still alive this would be a criminal investigation,” Spencer said during a press conference in Conroe, Texas, Thursday afternoon. “There are separate incidents but rolled into one there would be kidnapping and unlawful restraint rolled into sexual assault, so this could be a multifaceted investigation.”

Drude, who owned the security camera that caught the video, shared the footage with the police and also online, which resulted in it quickly becoming viral.

Collins killed himself Wednesday. According to Lt Spencer, Collins ex-wife called the police Wednesday as she worried because he texted her threatening suicide. He was upset by the video, she said. She recognised the woman in the video as well.

“She was adamant it was the girlfriend in the video,” Spencer said. “She had met her before.”

Spencer said Collins “admitted he did what he did to her that was seen in the video” in a suicide note which was found by the police.

Collins was found dead with a single gunshot wound to his chest in his three-bedroom, single-story home on Sunrise Pines Drive. The police forced their way in and found his body in the back bedroom, with a handgun lying nearby.

The woman in the video refused to be identified.

“She is very distraught about this,” Spencer said. “She is embarrassed, upset and in shock that it has come to this. We are giving her time and staying in communication with her.”