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Hempfield man sought in abduction

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Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

State police in Greensburg are looking for a Hempfield man who allegedly abducted a woman and held her at gunpoint on Thursday in New Stanton.

Dennis Lee Backus Jr., 42, is accused of going to the woman's home about 2 a.m., in violation of a protection-from-abuse order issued against him on Jan. 2 in Westmoreland County, police said.

Charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, possession of firearm prohibited, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment were filed against Backus with Scottdale District Judge Charles Moore.

The woman said she encountered Backus on her porch when she was entering her home, according to an affidavit filed by Trooper Timothy Culler.

“(Backus) immediately placed a black handgun to her head and stated, ‘Don't do anything stupid,' ” Culler wrote.

Backus told the woman to walk to his car, which she did “out of fear for her life,” the affidavit states.

The woman said she tried to push the gun away several times. After they got into his car, Backus placed the gun on his lap, she told police.

The two talked about their relationship for about 45 minutes, the woman told police.

At one point, Backus told the woman, “We are both going to die tonight,” the affidavit states.

After talking a while longer, the woman told Backus to put away the gun, and he placed it in the driver's-side door compartment. The woman told Backus she wanted to go home and her drove her to a nearby street and let her out of the car.

The woman said she locked herself inside the house and called police.

Backus was not found at his Swede Hill Road residence, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Police said Backus may be driving a 2004 black Mazda RX8.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call state police at 724-832-3288.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or

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