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Willmar woman sentenced for role in false imprisonment, assault

WILLMAR -- A Willmar woman who was allegedly involved in the kidnapping and assault of a teenager last year was sentenced Monday on a reduced charge.

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Ashley Connie Marie Valadez

WILLMAR - A Willmar woman who was allegedly involved in the kidnapping and assault of a teenager last year was sentenced Monday on a reduced charge.

Ashley Connie Marie Valadez, 25, was sentenced in Kandiyohi County District Court on a charge of deprivation of parental/custodial rights, a felony.

Valadez was sentenced to four days in jail and given credit for four days already served. She must register as a predatory offender and is to pay a $1,000 fine and $165 in court fees. She will serve two years on supervised probation.

Valadez was originally charged with three felonies of kidnapping and false imprisonment and a gross misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree assault. The reduced charge was part of a plea agreement.

According to court records, two boys who had escaped from the Prairie Lakes Youth Program offered Valadez and her co-defendant Jose Agapito Sanchez $1,000 to drive them to Winona. The pair did not have the money, and fled the vehicle at a convenience store in Winona.

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One of the boys ran away but the other stopped 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 the couple could not find the boy who fled, they allegedly drove back to Willmar and held the other boy captive in their apartment from approximately May 29 to May 31 and beat him approximately a dozen times, according to the complaint.

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 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 and was picked up by a Willmar police officer.

Sanchez is scheduled to go on trial in February.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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