WILLMAR — Two people from Willmar are facing felony charges of false imprisonment with intentional restraint for allegedly keeping a juvenile in their apartment for at least two days against his will after he and another boy tried to flee after not paying for a ride to another Minnesota city.
Jose Agapito Sanchez, 21, and Ashley Connie Marie Valadez, 25, made their initial court appearances Wednesday, June 13, in Kandiyohi County District Court.
According to court records, Sanchez and Valadez held a 17-year-old boy captive in their apartment from approximately May 29 to May 31 and assaulted him numerous times.
The teenager was one of two boys reported missing May 28 from the non-secure unit of Prairie Lakes Youth Programs. The boys had not returned to the unit after their shifts.
On May 31, the 17-year-old was seen walking north along Lakeland Drive. When a Willmar police officer approached him, he said he was returning to Prairie Lakes. The officer saw injuries to the boy's face and asked what had happened, according to the criminal complaint.
The youth said he didn't want to talk about what had happened to him in the open, so the officer drove him to Prairie Lakes, and they talked in the squad car in the parking lot.
The youth said he and the other boy had made arrangements for Sanchez and Valadez to drive them to Winona, and they promised to pay them $1,000.
The trip was made with two small children in the vehicle. When they stopped at a convenience store in Winona, the youths jumped out of the vehicle and ran because they couldn't pay for the ride. The boy said he "froze" when he heard a gunshot behind him, but the other boy kept running, according to the complaint.
Sanchez allegedly held a gun to the youth's back and forced him back into the vehicle. When they couldn't find the other boy, they drove back to Willmar and held the boy captive in their apartment and beat him approximately a dozen times, according to court records.
According to the complaint, a witness also described for officers that she had seen Sanchez May 30, when he showed her a loaded gun in his waistband and the injured boy in the back seat of his vehicle. He allegedly told her he had "kidnapped this f—-in' white boy."
The boy said Sanchez and Valadez used meth and did not sleep while he was confined in the apartment in southwest Willmar. Eventually, the boy convinced Sanchez that he could get money for him if he would let him go.
Sanchez released the boy and allegedly told him to return that night, or he would take him to a field, give him a head start and start shooting at him. The boy began walking back to Prairie Lakes.
Police identified Sanchez with the youth's description of Sanchez's tattoos. According to the complaint, the boy was too frightened to go into the apartment building but described how to find the apartment. Valadez's name was on the lease. The boy also told officers Sanchez had two firearms.
Sanchez and Valadez were arrested early on June 1 at the restaurant where Sanchez worked.
Using search warrants to go through the vehicle and a backpack in it, officers found two .40-caliber handguns, and drug- and gang-related items.