By Zoe Buchli

A Missoula man was arrested on suspicion of strangling his partner and threatening to kill her if she reported his actions to police.

Raydon S. Thomas, 29, appeared in Missoula County Justice Court on Friday on one count of intimidation and one count of strangulation, both felonies.

He is also charged with three partner assault offenses, the first two of which are misdemeanors. The third is a felony.

Missoula police responded to a domestic violence call Thursday evening around the 1800 block of South Third Street West, according to charging documents. The woman, who shares a newborn with Thomas, reported the day prior she and Thomas were arguing when he strangled her.

She had been sitting on a bed when Thomas allegedly put his hand on her throat, strangling her for about two minutes. The woman indicated while she didn’t lose consciousness, she was “seeing stars.”

Thomas also shoved her head into the bed frame and punched her, the woman told officers. When she was able to get up and sit by the door, Thomas reportedly told her if she called police he would “kill her or punch her.” In the past, Thomas has threatened to have her child taken away if she reported anything to police, she said.

When she went back into the room to retrieve their baby and notify officials about his abuse, Thomas would not let her leave the room. Thomas hit her and again threatened to kill her, charging documents said.

When the woman called 911, Thomas was not on scene, but officers located him at a nearby address a short time after. He admitted to being in an argument on Wednesday morning but said nothing physical had happened.

At Friday’s hearing, state prosecution requested bond be set at $50,000 — Missoula County Justice of the Peace Landee Holloway set bail at $75,000. Thomas was ordered to have no contact with the woman or their child.

His arraignment is set for Nov. 8 at 9 a.m. in Missoula County District Court.

This is the second strangulation case that has passed through Missoula County in the last week.

Strangulation is a significant predictor of future lethal violence, and if someone has been strangled by a partner in the past, their risk of being killed by them is 10 times higher, according to Just Response, a project by the Office on Violence Against Women in the U.S. Department of Justice.

There are many resources available in Missoula for domestic violence survivors.

The Missoula YWCA provides 24-hour crisis counseling, emergency shelter, transitional housing, mental health counseling, legal support and support groups for victims of crime. Their phone number is 406-542-1944.

The Missoula City-County Crime Victim Advocate Program provides legal advocacy for victims of crimes. Advocates can help you obtain a restraining order, report a crime to police or navigate options available to you through the justice system. They can be reached at 406-258-3830.

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