LIBERTY, Mo. - Austin McCauley, who in March pleaded guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend last year, finds himself back in a jail cell after new allegations of violence surfaced just hours before he was to be sentenced in the first domestic assault.
In March, McCauley admitted to attacking his then-girlfriend Amber Taylor. The case gained national attention when Taylor posted photos on Facebook of herself, bruised and battered, in a hospital bed.
After entering his plea, McCauley was released on bond and ordered to have no contact whatsoever with Taylor. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, with prosecutors anticipating McCauley would be placed on probation and released with time-served.
But just before McCauley's hearing was set to begin, Clay County prosecutors received a call from police in Blue Springs, who said they responded to a call from Taylor in the early morning hours of April 24.
When police arrived on the scene, Taylor told them she had been out with McCauley when the two began arguing in her parked car. At that time, Taylor told police, McCauley choked her until she lost consciousness, then slapped her to wake her back up, accusing her of faking.
McCauley had left the scene by the time police arrived, and no arrest was made.
So informed, Clay County prosecutors asked the judge in the case to revoke McCauley's bond and remand him into custody, calling him a threat to Taylor and the community at large. Over objections from defense attorneys, the judge ordered McCauley taken back into police custody, and scheduled another hearing in three weeks.
Taylor attended Thursday's hearing, but left after prosecutors asked her about the incident earlier this week. Before the proceedings began, she told 41 Action News that she had not seen McCauley at all since his plea hearing, and was looking forward to getting on with her life.
She denied that the two had spoken or had any contact.
In an appearance on the Dr. Phil program last month, Taylor told the show's host she was considering getting back together with McCauley. Advocates for victims of domestic violence say victims returning to their attackers is not uncommon.
"We can't just expect that one incident and they're done," Ilene Shehan, the chief operating officer of Hope House, a domestic violence victim support organization, explained.
"They want the abuse to stop. In situations where a woman may leave the situation, and they're still having contact with their abusive partner, whether that's because of children, because of finances or just because they love them, we can't expect that love it just stops," she said.
Shehan said many domestic violence victims suffer through multiple incidents of abuse before calling police, and that abuse tends to escalate in intensity in each case.
Shehan said loved ones of domestic violence victims should focus on offering support and withholding judgment to help those they care about break the so-called "cycle of abuse."