Joey had just delivered some pizza and was about to leave when he noticed something that made him stop. A woman standing inside the house seemed frightened and it looked like she had a black eye. Concerned, Joey kept an eye on the woman while trying not to alert the man at the door, and that’s when the woman looked straight at him and mouthed 2 words that left him cold: “Help me!”
When Joey Grundl went into his job as a pizza delivery driver the other day, he wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. He had no idea that by the end of the day he would save a woman’s life!
The Domino’s Pizza driver had just delivered a pizza and was about to leave when he noticed something that stopped him dead in his tracks. A woman inside the house appeared to be mouthing, “Help me.”
As Joey looked closer, trying not to arouse any suspicion from the man who had just paid him, he noticed the woman pointing at her black eye. Then she mouthed, “Call police.”
Joey knew he had to do what he could to help the woman, so he dialed 9-1-1 as soon as he got back to his car.
“I had a delivery. It was a middle-aged couple. The woman clearly had a black eye. She pointed to it, and I swear she mouthed ‘help me,’” he told the operator.
When officers arrived, they found a “house of horror.”
The man who had paid for the pizza was 55-year-old Dean Hoffmann, the ex-boyfriend of the woman inside. On Thursday afternoon, he had broken into her house.
When the woman asked him to leave and picked up the phone to call the police, Hoffmann allegedly ripped the phone out of her hands, grabbed her by the waist, and dragged her toward the steps that led upstairs.
The woman said Hoffman shoved her, causing her to fall with her back on the steps, and then pulled her hair, ripped her shirt, and tried to drag her upstairs.
When the woman fought back and hit Hoffmann in the groin, he punched her in the face, giving her the black eye Joey saw as well as a bloody nose.
Hoffman then forced the woman upstairs, tied her to her bed with the cord from a vacuum, and shoved a towel in her mouth so “nobody would be able to hear her.” The woman told investigators she had trouble breathing and was afraid she was going to die.
After about 30 minutes, Hoffmann untied the woman, but he refused to let her leave the house. The woman recalls telling him, “If you love me, you will let me go,” but Hoffmann just replied, “You know I can’t do that.”
Hoffmann even texted the woman’s children from her phone telling them she was sick and not to come over for a few days.
The woman says she “truly believed [Hoffmann] was going to kill her that night.”
Thankfully, though, he decided at some point to order from Dominos, and that was the woman’s saving grace.
Hoffman now faces charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, strangulation and suffocation, felony intimidation of a victim, and burglary of a building.
Had it not been for the woman’s bravery and Joey’s quick actions that day, this awful story could have had a much different ending.
“I’m grateful [the delivery driver] was paying attention,” said neighbor Amy Hammarlund, “because it could have been a lot worse.”
So are we.