Mother Saves Child By Tricking Ex Who Allegedly Held Them Hostage

A mother was able to save her 7-month-old baby during an hours-long hostage situation, allegedly orchestrated by her ex, by tricking him into letting her seek help nearby, police in Surprise, Arizona, said at a news conference Monday.

The suspect, Todd Marchetti, 51, was found dead on May 17 following a report of a domestic violence incident in which authorities said he broke into his ex’s home around 3 a.m. armed with a machete, police Sgt. Rick Hernandez said at the news conference.

According to Hernandez, the incident ended after the home caught fire and the estranged couple’s baby, Jaxson, who had been shot multiple times, was rescued.

Hernandez said Marchetti intended to cause the mother, whom police identified as Allie, “harm” while her family was away on vacation. Throughout the hostage situation, Allie concocted multiple schemes to try to break away for help.

A photo of Allie and Jaxson was posted on a GoFundMe page.
A photo of Allie and Jaxson was posted on a GoFundMe page. GoFundMe

Allie’s first opportunity to escape came when Marchetti shot the family dog, Hernandez said. She convinced Marchetti to let her to take the dog to a vet, where she planned to seek help.

However, Marchetti did not allow her to go to the vet alone, according to Hernandez. While at the vet, Marchetti gave the staff fake names and numbers and told them the dog was a stray that had been hit by a car.

The dog had to be euthanized, Hernandez said.

Allie’s next escape attempt took advantage of a window that Marchetti damaged when he broke into her home, Hernandez said. She told Marchetti she should go out and get workers to fix the window so no one would know he’d broken in.

The mother left through the damaged window and found a construction crew at about 11:30 a.m. The workers called police, Hernandez said.

According to a police news release, the baby was still inside the home with Marchetti when the crew called for help. When officers arrived, an hours-long standoff began.

During the standoff, police officers heard multiple gunshots coming from inside the house as authorities devised a plan toget inside to rescue the baby, according to the news release.

In police camera footage shown at the news conference, officers are seen grabbing the infant and scrambling to get back outside. They gave the baby to medical personnel, who began an examination, Surprise Fire Chief Brenden Espie said at the news conference.

Authorities learned that at some point during the hostage situation, Jaxson was shot multiple times, according to Hernandez. After the rescue, the baby was airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for treatment.

Hernandez said officers attempted to make contact with Marchetti several times after rescuing Jaxson, but he refused to come out.

“Throughout the time when he was refusing to exit the residence peacefully, we were hearing gunfire, and that included when the house was on fire. We were still hearing gunfire,” Hernandez said.

The fire started shortly after 3 p.m., while Marchetti was inside. Fire crews were unable to put the flames out because gunshots were still being heard from inside the home, according to the news release.

Marchetti’s remains were found inside a closet-like room. He appeared to have shot himself in the head. Authorities said investigators are still gathering evidence to determine whether Marchetti set the home on fire.

Jaxson underwent three surgeries and is expected to recovery, Hernandez said.

The sergeant told reporters that Marchetti had multiple prior reports of domestic violence in multiple jurisdictions that involved Allie and Jaxson.

In a statement released to KPNX-TV in Mesa, Arizona, the victims’ family said Allie is still troubled by the incident.

“If your son or daughter is experiencing, or is the perpetrator of domestic violence, do the right thing and report it as soon as it happens. Lives depend on it,” the statement said.

In a Tuesday update on a GoFundMe fundraiser launched for the family, loved ones stated that Allie has been “glued to Jaxson’s side” during his stay at the hospital.

“In regards to Jaxson’s recovery, he has since opened his eyes up, and has been removed from breathing assistance and was finally able to be held in his mothers arms for the first time yesterday,” an update on the fundraiser said.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.