(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) — Officials said Monday the three victims who were found dead at a home in Springfield, Massachusetts, last week were all women.
They were identified as: Ernestine Ryans, 47, of Springfield; America Lyden, 34, of Springfield; and Kayla Escalante, 27, of Ludlow, Massachusetts. Their cause of death was not immediately clear.
The women’s families are “distraught and heartbroken,” Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said at a news conference, calling their deaths “suspicious.”
The house where the women were found is the last known address of 40-year-old kidnapping suspect Stewart Weldon.
Two of the three women had been the subject of missing persons reports, Gulluni said. The reports were investigated but the women were not found, he said.
Weldon encountered police on May 27 when he was stopped for a broken tail light.
After police apprehended Weldon following a short chase, they found a woman with him in the car who told officers that Weldon had held her captive for a month, sexually assaulted her and beaten her, according to WGGB-TV in Springfield.
Weldon was arrested that night. He pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and other charges on Tuesday, WGGB-TV reported.
The woman was taken to a hospital where she is still recovering, Gulluni said.
Weldon on Monday was arraigned on additional charges of kidnapping, assault and rape, related to a different victim, Gulluni said at the news conference.
He was held on $1 million bail for both cases, Gulluni said.
No one has been charged in connection to the bodies found at the Springfield property, nor has Weldon been linked to them.
Weldon’s mother bought the property two years ago and is listed as the owner, according to public records.
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