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Second defendant appears on kidnapping charges

Ashley Connie Marie Valadez

WILLMAR — Ashley Connie Marie Valadez, 25, of Willmar, appeared in district court in Wednesday on a felony charge of false imprisonment and two felony charges of kidnapping along with gross misdemeanor fifth degree assault.

The court scheduled a pre-trial hearing for Nov. 29.

Valdez and her boyfriend, Jose Agapito Sanchez, 21, face charges for allegedly keeping a juvenile in their apartment for at least two days against his will.

According to the criminal complaint, two boys who had escaped from the Prairie Lakes Youth Program offered Sanchez and Valadez $1,000 to drive them to Winona. The pair did not have the money, and fled the vehicle at a convenience store in Winona.

One of the boys froze when he heard what he believed to be a gunshot. 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 from approximately May 29 to May 31 and beat him approximately a dozen times, according to the allegations.

The boy said Sanchez and Valadez used methamphetamine 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 but 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.

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.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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