Exclusive: Mom of 4 survives 18-hour abduction, assault by boyfriend
11/20/2017 5:07 pm PST
There is not a person out there watching this show right now that hasn't been touched in some way by domestic violence.
A brave survivor is stepping out of the shadows for the first time to tell her story, hoping it helps anyone too afraid to leave the bad situation they are in right now.
Broken down alongside a busy highway a woman ordered out of her vehicle. But this tense high-stakes moment caught on police dashboard camera is no arrest. It's a rescue.
A nightmare that lasted for 18 hours had finally come to an end.
Now for the first time this brave survivor and mother of four is telling her harrowing story.
At home on her farm in Minnesota, Jenna Schiller is best known as "Mom." But on roller skates, she's "Laceration Lizzy."
"I was roller-skating with Fergus Falls Roller Girls," Jenna tells Crime Watch Daily.
Despite four kids and a full-time job, the single mom managed to find time for her favorite sport of roller-derby. What she didn't have time for was finding a man.
"I had been through many relationships," said Jenna. "It was a little nerve-wracking to put yourself out there again."
But in 2011, a man found her.
"He was fun, he was looking for a committed relationship," said Jenna.
And for Dennis Aasen, Jenna's four kids weren't a deal-breaker, they were a bonus.
"He enjoyed doing stuff as a family and being around my kids," said Jenna Schiller. "He moved in almost immediately."
Like most new couples, all their free time was spent together. And when they were apart, Dennis made sure to keep in constant contact.
"He would call and text all the time," said Jenna Schiller. "I thought he was very attentive and just loved me."
Dennis soon dubbed himself "Mr. Laceration Lizzy," and he was rink-side for every roller-derby match.
"He thought it was so cool that I did that and it was so awesome," said Jenna Schiller.
But Jenna's number-one fan was starting to act more like a fanatic.
"When fans would want to take pictures with me, he would call me names, he would tell me I looked like a slut and a whore," Jenna tells Crime Watch Daily.
Dennis Aasen quickly went from being needy, to controlling, then soon something far worse.
"Probably after that is when it started with the jealousy, always asking me like, who I was with or who was around," said Jenna.
Aasen had plenty of excuses for his jealousy. And Jenna says she bought into every one of them.
"He had been in relationships where he was cheated on or lied to or people weren't there for him, or he had issues with his parents," said Jenna. "He didn't feel loved, so I just thought I could be that person."
But when the verbal abuse became physical, loving Aasen became difficult. He even took the fun out of roller-derby.
"It resulted in verbal abuse, physical abuse," said Jenna Schiller.
In front of others?
"Yeah," said Jenna. "He would hit me, he slammed my foot in the door at the hotel, ripped my toenail off my foot."
If her team traveled out of town for a match, Aasen would tag along. One time he left her in Wisconsin with no way to get home.
"He took my money, my car. I had to go sit at a restaurant for about six hours to wait for him to come back and get me," said Jenna.
The violence got so bad one night at home that Jenna did call the police.
"I needed to stop him from what he was doing," said Jenna.
But because Jenna lives so far out in the country, when cops finally arrived, Dennis Aasen was long gone.
"They asked about the marks, and I told them that it wasn't from him," said Jenna. "They knew that I was lying but they can't do anything about it."
"There were times I saw marks on her and I'd asked her about them," said Jenna's sister Kaitlyn Kettner. "She tried to kind of play it off, say 'Oh it was nothing. It's OK. Don't worry about it.'"
As bad as the abuse got, it's not what finally convinced Jenna Schiller to break up with Dennis Aasen.
"I had been in abusive relationships before, so that seemed normal," said Jenna.
One day police called asking if she recognized a particular phone number, one that belonged to Aasen.
"He had been taking my contacts and places I used to work and friends of mine and family, and calling them in the middle of the night," said Jenna.
When they'd answer, Jenna says Aasen would make sexually explicit comments.
"I was completely shocked," said Jenna. "He came clean about it, sort of, and said that this was something that he had a problem with and that he had done in the past."
From that moment on, Jenna was done with the relationship.
"I didn't feel connected to him at that point," said Jenna. "He withdrew. He spent a lot of time outside or in the garage. And then when we would have altercations, they would get bigger and worse."
"I came home by myself, my kids were gone, they were staying with my sister," Jenna tells Crime Watch Daily.
Around 2 a.m., the mother of four came through her back door and turned on the kitchen light.
"He was standing right there," said Jenna.
Dennis Aasen had broken into her house again.
"He just immediately started punching me in the face. He grabbed me and started strangling me," said Jenna. "I was crying, I asked him to stop, I asked him why he was doing this."
Jenna recounts the horrifying 18-hour ordeal exclusively with Crime Watch Daily. She said after he beat her for a couple hours, he threw her into her SUV and drove off.
"Telling me to give him my phone, to put in the pass code so he can see who I've been talking to," said Jenna. "He said he was gonna find anybody who I was with or talked to, and track them down and kill them."
At one point Jenna tried to escape.
"I finally decided after seeing a house with their lights on outside to jump out of the vehicle," said Jenna.
But the house wasn't as close as she thought, and Jenna was now seriously injured.
"I had hit the ground going fast enough and hard enough that I had like 'road rash' from the gravel over most of my body," said Jenna.
Before she could yell for help, Aasen dragged her back into the SUV, then returned to her house.
"He laid me down in my bed. My head was bleeding profusely," said Jenna.
Eventually she passed out, but the abuse didn't stop.
"I woke up to him punching me and kicking me and strangling me," said Jenna.
Worried her kids would soon be home just before sunrise, Aasen threw Jenna back into the SUV. She was now too badly injured to attempt an escape, even when they stopped for gas.
"I didn't think that I would be able to get away before he would notice," said Jenna.
When she didn't show up for work that morning, Jenna's boss called police, who went out to her house to check on her.
"They found out that my front door had been broken in. He had kicked in the door," said Jenna.
Inside the house cops found blood in her bed and bathroom. Before long, an all-out search was underway for both Jenna Schiller and Dennis Aasen. Jenna's sister Kaitlyn Kettner says she was afraid for Jenna's life. Kaitlyn tried repeatedly to call Jenna and to call Aasen, but the calls went straight to voicemail.
"He had had both of our phones taken apart," said Jenna.
By late afternoon, Jenna says, Aasen had calmed down following a bizarre incident.
"He was hyperventilating and telling me that he was having a heart attack," said Jenna. "He started calling me by a different name, was completely different."
He even agreed to let her make a brief phone call to her sister.
"She immediately said that there was a missing-persons report, that the police were at my house, that they were looking for us," said Jenna.
Jenna was relieved to learn cops were searching for them, and even more relieved when just before 8 in the evening the engine on her SUV blew up. The terrifying trip had come to an abrupt end -- and so would her long nightmare.
"He just looked at me and told me that he loved me. He told me that he loved my kids, and then he got out of the car and walked away," said Jenna.
Minutes later, Jenna was on the phone with her family when deputies pulled up behind her.
"They came out with their guns and the loudspeaker," said Jenna. "I was frozen in fear. I've never had so many guns pointed at me in my life."
The badly beaten mother of four slowly emerged from the vehicle and limped over to cops. The horror of what she'd been through becoming more and more clear with every painful step. She told deputies Aasen had left on foot, then hitched a ride and was gone.
At first Jenna seemed surprisingly calm considering the terror she'd endured over the last 18 hours. But as deputies moved in to search her vehicle, the trauma started to sink in, and Jenna was overcome with emotion.
Pictures taken alongside the highway are only a glimpse into the pain that had been inflicted on her. Road rash all over her body, her eye swollen shut, chin busted and blood from a gash in her head had left her hair badly matted.
While deputies were tending to Jenna, the man who'd nearly killed her made his escape. The manhunt to find Dennis Aasen lasted for days. And the entire time, he was still berating Jenna with a barrage of text messages.
"He ended up calling a friend of mine and asking her to help him," said Jenna.
With authorities hiding nearby, Jenna's friend met Aasen in the Twin Cities area.
"Before he got into her vehicle, the police arrested him," said Jenna.
After five days on the run, Dennis Aasen was finally behind bars. And even then, he continued to call Jenna.
Dennis Aasen eventually agreed to plead guilty. He was convicted of kidnapping to commit great bodily harm and burglary. He'll be out of prison in 2024.
Is it long enough?
"No," said Jenna Schiller. "I don't think that he is mentally capable of not being in prison."
Are you afraid for your safety?
"Yes," said Jenna.
Long after her physical injuries had healed, Jenna suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
"I couldn't go back to work, I had a hard time sleeping," said Jenna. "I couldn't be around anything loud. I always saw something out of my peripheral vision."
Support from the group Break The Silence is what ultimately lead to a breakthrough. What would you say to someone else, male or female, who finds themselves in this type of relationship?
"I would just say that it's important to get out before it gets worse, because it will get worse," said Jenna Schiller. "There's a lot of people that understand and that will support you."
One of Jenna's biggest supporters is a teacher she met a few months after her kidnapping.
"It was very difficult to let go and to let somebody in," said Jenna.
But eventually she did.
"I got married this year," said Jenna.
And they blended both families officially, with six kids between them and a happy ending to this story.
And Jenna Schiller has a final message to women out there: "When you are ready to leave, develop a safety plan because things go from zero to a hundred very fast."