Man arrested in violent domestic incident accused of making victim watch her house burn down

PITTSBURGH — It’s a harrowing story of survival for a Pittsburgh woman who was brutally beaten to near death in Lincoln-Lemington early Tuesday morning.

Police say a neighbor on Apple Street heard the woman’s cries for help inside a nearby apartment and called 911. When police got to the apartment complex, nobody answered initially, and they almost had to kick down the door. Police say once inside, Anan Todd knocked a police officer down the stairs and fought with two other officers, spraining one of their wrists and injuring another’s nose.

Once Todd was in custody, police were able to tend to the badly beaten woman. Her face was so injured her eyes were swollen shut. According to court paperwork, she was beaten with a mop, some of her hair was ripped out, she had been strangled and had blunt force head trauma. She was rushed to a hospital where she is expected to survive.

Around the same time, a nearby home in Lincoln-Lemington was burning down. Police even noted the smell of the fire in their paperwork. It was the victim’s house and it was fully engulfed around 3 a.m. At the hospital, the victim told police, Todd admitted to setting her home on fire and said he’d kill her too.

Neighbors were disgusted by the torture this woman had to endure.

“That’s psychotic,” Ira Artemus said. “That’s psychotic behavior. It was engulfed, full flames. It was really scary.”

Only a couple of walls and the chimneys were still standing. Everything else from the home was blackened and destroyed. Tuesday, it was smoldering when arson investigators were on scene.

Neighbors say it felt like mere minutes until it burned to the ground.

“The upstairs was already gone by the time I came outside,” a neighbor tells Channel 11. “Seems like by the time anybody else got here, it was in full flames.”

Neighbors say they’re relieved Todd is in jail and the victim is alive.

“I’m glad they got him,” neighbors add. “God be with her. She’s alive and not really well, but she will be -- especially if she’s away from him.”

All three officers who were injured are OK. Todd is also charged with assault of a law enforcement officer.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, there is a 24/7 hotline available to help. Call: 800-799-7233.