Bounty hunter arrested in Morristown for raping woman

Bounty hunter arrested in Morristown for raping and imprisoning woman

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Michael Rayfield (Source: Morristown Police Department) Michael Rayfield (Source: Morristown Police Department)

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - Police arrested a bounty hunter Tuesday after he allegedly raped a woman while attempting to track down her brother.

Aaron Eldridge, 26, of Morristown, said he was in a Scottish Inns motel room on the Andrew Johnson Highway around 11:00 p.m. Monday night when a bounty hunter, 41-year-old Michael Rayfield of Sevierville, knocked on the door.

Eldridge told officers Rayfield announced himself as a bounty hunter and said he would kick the door in unless it was opened.

Eldridge said Rayfield entered the room and told them he was looking for Terry Pressley, who Rayfield said had a warrant out for his arrest in Sevier County.

Pressley's sister was in Eldridge's motel room at the time of the incident.

According to the police report, once Rayfield recognized Pressley's sister, he confronted her and told her he was taking her into custody in an attempt to capture her brother.

The woman told police Rayfield then handcuffed her and forced her to pay for another motel room for her, Rayfield and another man.

Rayfield reportedly told the woman he would take her to jail for aiding and abetting a criminal if she did not agree.

"I was nervous," said the victim, who is not being identified since she was an alleged victim of rape. "I was terrified. I was scared. I tried to holler for help. I was afraid he would hurt me more. I was afraid to shut my eyes because I thought he was going to kill me."

The bounty hunter admitted to Morristown Police that he handcuffed her and forced her to pay for the hotel room.

Rayfield admitted to having sex with the woman and forcing her and Eldridge to drive him to a nearby Pilot. At the gas station, Eldridge approached a police officer to report the incident.

"I would have liked to get a hold of him," said Eldridge. "I mean you know. It wouldn't have been good."

The woman told police she was scared and was not able to get away from Rayfield.

He was arrested by Morristown police and charged with extortion, rape and false imprisonment.

The victim says she hopes no one else will have to go through something like this again.

"I hope he rots," she said. "I really do."

This incident puts a big spot light on the bail bonds companies in the area.

Gwen Moore, the owner of Gwen's Bail Bonds, said she was shocked by the allegations.

"It's sad because we work hard," said Moore, "Because we work to recover a good name for the market of bail bonding."

She said anyone who wants to be a bounty hunter, or recovery agent, needs to have certification.

"They need to attend a school," she said. "It's an eight hour class, continuing education, with the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Bonding."

She hopes incidents like this will not make it bad for other companies, like hers, who try to do everything right.

Rayfield was arrested two other times earlier in 2012.

In May, he was charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and assault.

Then in August, Rayfield was arrested and charged with DUI.

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