Man Allegedly Strangled and Held a Knife to His Girlfriend’s Throat
On September 3, 2020, Missoula Police officers were called to a report of an assault at Community Hospital. When they arrived, they contacted the female victim. She said she’d given birth the day prior to her and her boyfriend’s son. That morning, the two began to argue, at which point the boyfriend slapped the victim in her stomach, causing pain. The victim indicated that the slap caused her so much pain that she dropped to the floor.
Hospital staff arrived in the room and asked the boyfriend to leave, which he did. Staff indicated they heard a disturbance and observed the victim on the ground. The boyfriend was arrested later that day and charged in Missoula Municipal Court. As a part of his conditions of release, he was prohibited from having any “angry” contact with the victim.
At around 2:30 a.m. on Monday, Missoula Police officers were called to a report of a disturbance at the Red Lion Inn. Staff alerted 911 when they heard a female voice yelling for help in one of their rooms. Officer arrived and contacted the occupant of the room who was the same female victim from the incident mentioned earlier. She was present along with her child, now seven months old. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.
“The knocked on the door and made contact with an adult female who stated that she had just been involved in a disturbance with a significant other who she identified as 28-year-old Christian Bridenstine,” Welsh said. “The female advised the officers that Bridenstine had left the scene and was no longer present. She started to tell them about the disturbance when EMS responded and transported her to the hospital for suspected injuries.”
The victim was initially reluctant to provide details of what occurred, but told officers that Bridenstine “wigged out” and became very aggressive towards her that morning. However, the interview with the victim came to a “standstill” when the Bridenstine’s mother arrived on scene. At the hospital, officers again spoke with the victim, outside the presence of Bridenstine’s mother.
“The officer was able to speak to the victim again and she related that the disturbance involved an element of strangulation and also that she had been threatened with a knife,” Welsh said. “The officers made contact with Bridenstine at approximately 11:00 a.m. Monday morning and he was placed under arrest without incident.”
Doe said she stood in front of the door of the hotel, and that Bridenstine reacted by grabbing her throat with at least one hand and strangling her. She said that Bridenstine then released her, went back into the room, and came back towards her with a knife. She indicated that Bridenstine held the knife against her throat and told her to “get the f**k out of” his way. She said she believed “this was it” and that Bridenstine may kill her. Officers observed marks on the victim’s neck consistent with her explanation of events.
When Bridenstine arrived at the jail, he called his mother from his holding cell. Bridenstine indicated he knew that he was not supposed to speak with the victim, but Bridenstine’s mother indicated that the victim was present with her and that she would put the phone on speaker. Bridenstine then proceeded to say that “no matter what they tell (the victim) ... she can't show up to those court hearings ... or I am so f****d". Over a series of calls, Bridenstine reiterated to his mother several times that he wished her to communicate to the victim that she should not appear in court.
Bridenstine was charged with four separate felony offenses that include assault with a weapon, partner or family member assault, tampering with witnesses, and strangulation.