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Man with knife surrenders after woman hostage flees


A 13-hour standoff in Woodbine, southern Carroll County, ended yesterday when a female hostage escaped and the man accused of holding her at knifepoint surrendered.

Ralph Ash, 37, who lives in the Ashley Mobile Home Park where the incident occurred, was charged with rape, attempted murder, assault and battery, false imprisonment and other offenses, according to state police.

The woman, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, was taken to a hospital.

Police said the standoff apparently grew out of a domestic dispute.

Mr. Ash had been served Tuesday with court papers ordering him to stay away from his wife, Linda Lee Ash, and twin 5-year-old sons and to move out of the family mobile home. His wife's application for the protective order said he had threatened to kill her and the children.

Mike McKelvin, a spokesman for the state police, said a man allegedly broke into a neighbor's trailer about 4 a.m. and put a knife to the woman's throat, but made no demands at that time. He called the Westminster state police barracks at 7:47 a.m., police said, and said he was holding a woman hostage at the trailer park, in the 5900 block of Woodbine Road.

Police said he indicated he wanted to see his wife and sons, who had moved to Pennsylvania. The wife came to the site about 11:20 a.m. and talked to her husband on the telephone. She was allowed to stand behind a police car where he could see her.

Negotiators called the trailer by phone all day. About 4:50 p.m., when the intruder turned away to answer a call, the hostage rushed out the door. Officers quickly grabbed her and rushed her to safety. The man surrendered about 5:30 p.m.

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