GASTONIA, N.C. (CBS Local) — A police officer in North Carolina was in the right place at the right time to rescue the victim of a violent rape. Gaston County Sheriff’s Corporal Brandon Putnam said he was delivering paperwork in a domestic violence case on Saturday at a home in Gastonia.

“Like any other day, go to the door, knock on the door,” Putnam told CBS affiliate WBTV. “I knocked several times, no answer.”

Putman said he was about to leave when a woman came out. He handed her the paperwork involving Omar Adams, a man ordered by the court to stay away from her because of prior violence.

“Before I left, she whispered, ‘Help me,'” Putnam said.

When he looked more closely at the woman’s face, Putman said he saw saw marks under her eyes, marks on her neck — signs of strangulation.

“Was this from Adams?” Putnam asked. The woman nodded her head to indicate that he was inside the home.

Putnam called for backup and Sgt. Mickey Sanford met him at the home.

“We knew someone was in there and we needed to get him out. There were also three children inside at the time,” Sanford said.

The deputies searched the residence and said they found Adams hiding in a closet.

“In my 19 years, that’s never happened,” Putnam said. “When you are in a position where a victim needs help — and luckily she told me that she needed help — because anything could have happened.”

Adams was charged with forcible rape, strangulation, breaking and entering, kidnapping and possession of cocaine.

“She was brave enough to at least whisper, ‘help.’ So, it’s a good feeling to get him away from her,” Putnam said. “At least her and her children are safe.”