SANFORD, N.C. — A man accused of abducting a Lee County woman said love motivated him to do so, as he was being escorted from the Lee County Jail to the courthouse Wednesday night.
"I love my wife. I love my wife dearly," Raymond Scott Massa shouted of his estranged wife, Sherry Massa, 38, who was reported missing Monday after her two daughters found her car abandoned in a ditch on a rural road.
"I'm sorry, Sherry. I love you … Wait on me, and I'll do the right thing," he said. "Sherrie, you know what you told me to do: Get help. I'm going to get help."
Raymond Massa now faces two counts of assault and one count of kidnapping in connection with her disappearance. He was arrested early Wednesday evening at his mother's house in Harnett County a few hours after Sherry Massa returned home. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.
Sherry Massa appeared OK, Sheriff Tracy Carter said, but suffered from some minor bruises to her face.
Investigators said the two had traveled to Carolina Beach and then returned to the Fayetteville area, where Sherry Massa was able to convince her husband to let her go. She returned home in the truck that investigators said Raymond Massa was believed to be driving.
"Finally today, she talked him into saying into (letting her go)," said Ashley Massa, the couple's daughter, "saying, 'My kids, they miss me. They need me.' And finally he just let her go."
Family members said Tuesday that Raymond Massa had been distraught over the breakup of his marriage and that he desperately wanted his wife back. The couple had been separated for about two years, relatives said.
According to court records, Raymond Massa has been charged twice with assaulting his wife, most recently on Dec. 4. Sherry Massa has also taken out two domestic violence protection orders against him – one which was in place when she disappeared.
On Monday, Massa's two daughters made a public plea asking their father for their mother's release. Sherry Massa's return was welcome news for them.
"My sister called me, and I just went running to the car and got here as fast as we could," said Ashley Massa. "And she's home, and she's safe, and that's all that I wanted for Christmas and I got it."
Ashley Massa said that when they were reunited, she hugged her mother and cried.
"I'm never going to let her out of my sight again if I have to follow her to work every day," she said. "She's never leaving my sight again."