ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) Six people were arraigned Tuesday in the kidnapping of two college students who investigators said were forcibly restrained for more than 40 hours and repeatedly beaten until a police SWAT team rescued them. One victim was shot in the leg.
Authorities have declined to release a motive for the ordeal that began Saturday near the University of Rochester, where the students are seniors. Police said the victims were targeted.
“The victims were terrorized repeatedly over the time they were restrained and forced to surrender money, credit cards and personal identification numbers,” a felony complaint against four of the suspects said.
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Lydell Strickland, 26, Dennis Perez, 23, and Leah Gigliotti, 20, all of Rochester, and Samantha Hughes, 19, of Pittsford, pleaded not guilty to first-degree kidnapping and were ordered held without bail during an appearance in City Court.
A felony complaint said Inalia Rolldan, 19, and Ruth Lora, 19, both of Rochester, helped guard and feed the college students while they were tied up in a bedroom inside a Rochester house. They pleaded not guilty to second-degree kidnapping. Bail was set at $50,000.
Of the six, only Strickland was assigned a public defender. Hearings to determine attorneys for the others are expected later this week, a court employee said.
Police said Nicholas Kollias, of Northbrook, Illinois, who was shot, and Ani Okeke Ewo, of Aurora, Illinois, were reported missing Saturday evening, hours after they were last seen near the school.
Outside the courthouse Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Schwartz cited the ongoing investigation in declining to release details of the case, including whether the victims and suspects were acquainted and the backgrounds of those charged.
“In an effort to protect the integrity of that investigation, we're not going to be sharing any of the specifics,” Schwartz said. He said additional charges and suspects were possible.
According to a 2015 roster posted on the university's website, Ewo is a cornerback for the football team, while Kollias was listed as a defensive end on the 2014 roster.
“The University of Rochester is grateful to the Rochester Police Department for the sustained efforts that led to the swift arrests and charges in the abduction of our two students,” the university said in a statement Tuesday. “Our focus as a university is on our two students as they recover from their ordeal. We continue to believe this was an isolated incident and wish to stress that our campus is safe.”