Minnesota woman still in hiding after husband sent to prison for assaulting her

ADRIAN, MN - A Minnesota woman has released audio from the night her husband, Richard Bruns, assaulted her at their home in Adrian, MN in 2018. Bruns is a former police officer in Adrian. He pleaded guilty to assaulting Dolly with a gun.
In April, he was sentenced to three years in prison with the opportunity to get out after two with a supervised release.

Dolly Bruns said she looks forward to being able to sleep and have a little more freedom while he's in prison, but she's still in hiding. The house in Adrian, MN still shows signs of when the Bruns family lived there. It appeared to be one happy family living there together, but that's all it was, an appearance.

In about a 10 minute recording on June 15th, 2018, Richard was raging and threatening to kill his wife, Dolly Bruns.

In a statement to the court during Richard's sentencing hearing, Dolly said this was nothing new to her and her kids.

"She had said to me at one point, I know it was shocking for everyone else to hear. But I hear it every day, and I was just like wow. That was just heartbreaking," Ruth Gunnink said, who is Dolly's sister.

She said she knew Richard would often text Dolly asking where she was and when she was coming home. But she didn't know the full extent of the abuse.

"He had made up contracts of things that she had to do. She wasn't allowed to run the dishwasher or wash the clothes because he wanted to know how many plates were used, if maybe my mom had come over for supper," Gunnink said.

Their mom lived across the street. Dolly still isn't able to see her whenever she wants. She moved away to protect her and her children.

"They were tired of living in the house with the windows drawn and not being able to go outside because they didn't know when he was going to drive by or if he would try," Gunnink said.

Dolly is part of a program called Safe at Home.

"It's really been a benefit for people who are feeling like their identity needs to be secret and needs to have that sense of safety," Sara Wahl said, who is the executive director of the Southwest Crisis Center in Worthington, MN.

The services are free and confidential to help survivors. One of the things offered is the Safe at Home program. It's an address confidentiality program where anything that would be mailed to you is sent to a PO Box.

"Usually when somebody is ready to enroll at a Safe at Home program, they've really tried a lot of other things," Wahl said. "Having their information, their address, their location out in the public- that's a safety concern for them and their loved ones."

It's helped Dolly be in a safe environment. But she doesn't have immediate contact with family in fear Richard will find her.

"It's hard because now we have all these family things that we don't get to do. Like, we don't get to do Christmas. We don't get to do Easter because those would be obvious times that we would try to get together," Gunnink said. "We'll never go to where they're at. We'll just always meet in a neutral location, so that they're always safe."

This is still necessary even though Richard is in prison.

"It's a system of power and control, and it doesn't just end when someone is behind bars," Wahl said.

But Dolly said she's starting to regain that power and control back in her life.

"She is definitely more confident, and I think has figured out a purpose," Gunnink said. "When I talked to her the other day, I said it really sounds like you found your voice, and she's like I have."

And she's making sure she's heard now while encouraging others to do the same.

South Dakota does not have the Safe at Home program the state of Minnesota offers.

If you feel unsafe or have questions about your relationship, reach out to a local advocacy center. There are several organizations throughout the tri-state area that are available to the public. The South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault organization can be a resource for those who are in South Dakota. The phone number to the organization is 605-731-0041. The Children's Inn is also a good resource that is statewide. The crisis hotline there is 605-338-4880.

A Minnesota-based organization that has resources is Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. The 24-hour phone line there is 866-223-1111. If you'd like to find a resource in Southwest Minnesota, the Southwest Crisis Center can be reached at 800-376-4311.

In Iowa, there is an organization called the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence . The call center there is 1-800-770-1650.