Two people arrested for kidnapping and holding woman ransom

Bennington police arrested 31-year-old Maurice Edwards and 30-year-old Jacquelyn Valdez for kidnapping a 30-year-old female.

Police say the two suspects were holding her hostage because of an outstanding drug debt that was owed by another person.

Police were alerted of the kidnapping Monday, September 12th. Investigators say the woman was taken to Springfield Massachusetts, and the suspects planned to bring her back to Bennington once someone paid the $1500 drug debt.

A person working with police agreed to pay the kidnappers, so the two brought her back to Bennington. Tuesday, September 13th around 1:10 am, police found the victim in a car with the two suspects and two other people in front of an apartment building at 258 Belmont Ave. Officers say the two suspects were able to exit the vehicle and ran into the apartment, but they did not have permission to enter. Upon arrest police say they also seized about 8.2 grams of fentanyl, (equivalent to 400 bags of suspected fentanyl), 20 blue pills suspected to be fentanyl, and 31 grams of suspected cocaine.

Police also located a black and silver Ruger LCP.380 caliber handgun. The handgun wasn’t loaded but a loaded magazine with 5-.380 full metal jacket bullets was recovered in the kitchen area. The handgun along with a cellphone and suspected fentanyl was located in the bathroom.

Police say the female victim was safe and uninjured. Valdez and Edwards will appear in Vermont Superior Court-Bennington Criminal Division on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 12:30 pm. Both were transferred to Marble Valley Correctional Center.