Reporting Rachel Slavik
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A pest control worker may have saved the life of a woman and her son Tuesday afternoon. Investigators said Ernest Kidwell interrupted a domestic assault at a home in St. Paul.
Kidwell can’t stop thinking about a decision he made as he wrapped up work on Tuesday.
“I had a gut feeling about it,” said Kidwell of Environmental Pest Control.
He was checking for bugs and rodents at homes on L’Orient Street. When he got to a home on the 1400 block of L’Orient St. the screaming inside alerted him of trouble.
“She was crying. I figured ok, maybe they just had a fight going on or something like that,” said Kidwell.
He couldn’t help but notice blood on the face of the man in the house, 54-year-old Tin Kyaw, or the way the woman and her children huddled together.
“It was just the awkwardness that I felt and the way they were presenting themselves. It just felt like something was wrong,” Kidwell said.
As he prepared to leave, the woman saw an opportunity. She and Kidwell were in the living room while Kyaw was in the kitchen.
“She quietly said, ‘Help me,’” said Kidwell. “At that point I freaked out. I could either punch him in the face or go tell someone quick and not lose my job.”
Kidwell chose the latter and made sure she knew it.
“I saw her and said I’ll call and she nodded,” he said.
A police officer happened to be nearby in a parking lot. Kidwell told the officer what he saw in the home. He would later learn he interrupted a violent beating.
According to a criminal complaint, Kyaw punched and tried to strangle the woman. Kyaw’s even accused of taking out his anger on her 7-month-old child by stepping on the child’s head because the woman wouldn’t drink with him.
“I had no idea the kid was involved,” he said.
Kidwell watched as Kyaw was taken to jail, while the woman and her child were taken to the hospital. But he doesn’t see her as a victim. If anything, he sees the opposite.
“I’m like, good for you. There’s a lot of cases where women won’t do that,” he said.
The woman and kids were taken to a shelter. Kyaw faces four counts ranging from domestic assault to malicious punishment of a child. Kidwell said the only time he questioned his decision is when he left to go get help. He worried what would happen between the time he left and police arrived.