Police find Tennessee woman’s ex-boyfriend, assault suspect living in crawl space of her home

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WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A man is now behind bars in Tennessee after being charged with multiple counts of domestic violence, assault, and aggravated burglary. 

The domestic-violence offender was found hiding in the crawl space of a home belonging to a woman he briefly dated. 

Lebanon police arrested Michael Paul DeYoung on Monday. The 32-year-old was discovered at the home of the woman he briefly dated.   

According to court records, DeYoung had previously been arrested for harassment and domestic violence against this same woman two weeks earlier, on March 25. 

DeYoung bonded out of jail and the court ordered him to stay away, but he violated that order of protection. 

WKRN has learned that DeYoung was living in the crawl space under the woman’s trailer.  

For how long is not known. But according to police, the Gainesboro, Tennessee man had a sleeping bag, spare clothes, a pair of shoes, as well as food and trash in the space under the trailer.  

On the morning of April 8, police say DeYoung pushed through the floor of a back bedroom under a vanity. 

The woman who lives there came home with a male friend, who has a carry permit and was armed. The woman told WKRN she didn’t feel comfortable and thought something was wrong. 

In the back bedroom, the woman screamed after seeing DeYoung’s hand emerge from under the bed. The scream brought the male friend armed with a gun. 

That man doesn’t want to be identified, but he said what those moments of confrontation were like.  

“I had a bad feeling about it. I grabbed my pistol. First thing I noticed, one of the rug parts was kicked up and I asked her if she had left it that way and she said, no. I started sweeping the house. That’s when she screamed, and I came forward with my pistol and held him at bay until the police arrived. It was nerve-racking. As far as the fight he was not a challenge. I holstered my pistol once I did not deem he was a threat. He tried to attack me, I pushed him back. He attacked me first, and then I pushed back, and he took a swing, then he realized he didn’t want to mess with any of that. But yes, it was frightening. The adrenaline was pumping, I should say, to be more accurate.” 

By phone, the victim questioned why the domestic violence offender was even out of jail.  

“That’s scary. You see things like that in the movies,” said Syd Lashbrook.  

The Lashbrook family lives across the street and encountered DeYoung two weeks prior when he first attacked the woman at the home. 

Joe Lashbrook says, “He was creepy. He was just, seemed like he was gone, not there.” 

On March 25, Lashbrook says the woman fled her trailer and was screaming for help. The Lashbrooks got between the woman and the domestic violent assailant, preventing him from hurting her anymore.  

“She had marks around her neck, on her face. she was frantic.’ 

Joe’s mother, Syd, sat with the trembling woman while the police came.  

“She was visibly shaken.” 

Joe’s father, Lee, says he put on his work gloves and was ready for physical violence if it came to that. 

“He was chasing her. She was screaming for him to get away from her. I was going to stop him whatever it took I was going to stop him.” 

WKRN has learned that during that first attack, DeYoung left a note on the victim’s door. 

The victim went inside before reading the note.  

Investigators said DeYoung choked the woman and told her to be a good girl. The woman escaped across the street to the Lashbrooks, who protected her. 

According to police that note on the door said; “Don’t make a sound. Go to the bedroom. If you try for help, I will hurt you. Go to the room, put a pillowcase over your head, turn around and don’t make a sound.” 

Joe Lashbrook says he forced the angry man to walk away. He was later found by Lebanon police and arrested. 

“I took off my shirt and stopped there at the road and said you don’t need to step on the property,” said Joe.  

DeYoung was arrested, made bond, and ordered to avoid contact with the victim. A court order he violated.  

Police said on Apr. 6, two days before the crawl space incident, he sent multiple text messages and phone calls to the scared woman. A warrant was taken out for DeYoung’s arrest for violation of the order of protection, but DeYoung was not located until he came out of the floor and was apprehended by the victim’s friend. 

For now, DeYoung is in the Wilson County Jail held under no bond.  

He has prior charges for DUI and indecent exposure with a victim over 13 years of age 

He is back in court April 16.  

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