A 31-year-old man allegedly told police he blocked his wife’s car in a Kennewick grocery parking lot, smashed two windows and grabbed her by the hair because she hadn’t been home for a couple of days.
Paul D. Gross is scheduled to appear today in Benton County Superior Court on new charges of unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree assault. Both felony charges include allegations of domestic violence.
Gross had been the subject of a police manhunt for about 27 hours last week after a WinCo employee reported seeing an abduction in the Clearwater Avenue store’s parking lot.
Kennewick police said Samantha K. Noethe was taken by her husband after the 6:45 a.m. confrontation on March 5. Sgt. Ken Lattin described it as a “violent encounter,” saying Noethe did not go willingly and that officers believed the woman was in danger.
Noethe was found safe with Gross about 9:30 a.m. March 6 at the Kennewick Suites hotel on North Johnson Street. Gross was taken into custody.
Court documents filed Tuesday don’t go into detail about how the exchange in the parking lot ended between the couple, other than to say that Gross and Noethe “eventually left (WinCo) together in a different vehicle.”
Deputy Prosecutor Brendan Siefken pointed out to the Herald that he did not charge Gross with kidnapping.
The motive for the incident is not known. Unlawful imprisonment involves knowingly restraining or restricting a person’s movements in a manner that substantially interferes with their liberty.
A few hours before Gross found his wife in his black BMW, a Facebook post apparently by Gross angrily complained and cursed about Noethe’s behavior.
The couple have two children.
Noethe, 22, is from Walla Walla. Gross was last known to be living in Walla Walla, but his Facebook page says he used to live in Pasco.
According to police and court documents, the BMW was on the west side of the WinCo lot with the rear of the car backed up to the building. Gross then parked his vehicle in front of the BMW so Noethe could not drive away.
Noethe saw her husband arrive and drove the BMW into his vehicle in an attempt to escape, documents said. She also may have hit other vehicles in the lot trying to get away.
Gross then allegedly approached the driver’s side, punched out the window glass and grabbed Noethe’s hair to get her to stop.
The BMW drove a short ways before striking the side of the store, court documents said. At that point, Gross went to the passenger side and broke that window, documents said.
The incident was caught on the store’s security cameras.
Police searched at least two homes and seized one car before friends and relatives reportedly led them to the Kennewick hotel the following morning.
Noethe suffered cuts and bruises from crashing her car, Lattin said.
After his arrest, Gross allegedly told investigators he’d been looking for Noethe for a couple of days after she took his car and he admitted purposely blocking in the BMW outside the store.
Gross is being held in the Benton County jail on $20,000 bail.