It started six months ago, deputies believe, with an short argument that resulted in a long, smoldering grudge.
But it ended on Monday, when an anonymous call sent San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies to a locked wooden shed in a Fontana backyard.
When they broke the lock, they found a young woman chained to a wall, dehydrated and marked with bruises and rope burns.
"Oh, thank God you're here," Sgt. Charles May quoted the weeping young woman as having told rescuers. "I thought you'd never come."
In the two weeks since the woman--identified as Julie Ann Miles, 21--had been chased off the road and thrown into a truck, she told authorities, she had been gagged and hung from the ceiling, had her toes hammered with a tire iron, had metal darts blown at her and had been beaten on the legs with a shotgun barrel.
"I guess she really felt like she was going to die," Sheriff's Detective Robert Acevedo said.
So did an anonymous caller, who told deputies that "she'd been chained there for a week and feared she may die," May said.
The Fontana couple in the house in front, identified as Gregory Beatty and Gina Enos, both 31, were held on suspicion of kidnaping and false imprisonment, deputies said.
As far as investigators have been able to determine, the woman was no stranger to Beatty or Enos.
In fact, Acevedo said, "they're enemies."
Acevedo said investigators found that Miles had gotten involved six months ago in "a territorial thing" with Beatty, who, according to Acevedo, has prior drug arrests and "wanted her to work for him and sell his dope." She refused, Acevedo said, and "called him names."
That was six months ago.
On Aug. 24, May said, Beatty allegedly ran Miles' car off the road and dragged her away "and kept her ever since," Acevedo said.
She was not kept in the shed for the entire two weeks, Acevedo added.
"They took her out periodically, and let her shower . . . gave her a bowl of rice." (Miles lost 10 pounds during the ordeal.) Occasionally, "he let her drive off with his girlfriend, to go pick up dope money," Acevedo said investigators learned.
Three or four times she was allowed into the house, he said, where she cleaned up; once, in the living room, Beatty allegedly blew metal darts at her but she was never hit.
"Maybe (Beatty) was just trying to mentally brainwash her," Acevedo said.
Early Monday, when deputies arrived, they used bolt cutters to snip off the lock on the gate to the yard and again to cut the lock from the shed, where they found the woman chained to the wall with a tow chain and dog leash, May said.
"She was just real thankful the officers got there," Acevedo said.