In yet another incident demonstrating the hellscape the world has become, and especially for female athletes/performers/celebrities, WWE star Sonya Deville was forced to flee her house to escape a man attempting to take her hostage who had stalked her for months online.
The details are harrowing. Phillip A. Thomas of South Carolina apparently had been stalking Deville (real name Daria Berenato) online for eight months, and drove to Florida this past weekend. There, he cut a hole in a screen patio door to gain access to her house, but waited outside the home, monitoring all activity and essentially waiting for Deville and a guest to go to bed. Once she did, he entered the house, at 2:43 AM, according to police.
Thankfully, his entry triggered an alarm which allowed Deville and another person to get out of the house to Deville’s car and call police, who discovered Thomas still inside. The police found Thomas with a knife, zip ties, duct tape, mace, and other items. Clearly his intentions were menacing and terrifying. Thomas was charged with armed burglary, aggravated stalking, attempted armed kidnapping, and criminal mischief. Aggravated stalking comes with a max penalty of five years in prison in Florida, attempted kidnapping a max. of 30 years, and armed burglary can result in life in prison.
Deville released a statement on Twitter saying she was fine and thanking the police for their swift action.
Deville is something of a transformational figure with WWE, as she’s the first openly gay female performer in the company’s history. She is set for her first singles pay-per-view match at Sunday’s SummerSlam, in a hair vs. hair match against former tag-team partner Mandy Rose, where the loser will have her head shaved.
Deville is a rising star in the company, though she’s been around for a little while now. Rumors have her starting a program with fellow MMA transfer Shayna Bazler after SummerSlam on Raw’s new gimmick of “Raw Underground.”