Whidbey News-Times


Trio faces charges for kidnapping and beating on North Whidbey

Whidbey News-Times Co-editor
February 23, 2013 · Updated 3:58 PM

A trio is facing kidnapping and other charges for allegedly beating a couple with hammers and then locking them in the trunk of a car, court documents state.

The three suspects, Ralph D. Arnold, 25, of Oak Harbor, Maureen D. Hodges, 55, of Bellingham and Michelle E. Hodges, 26, of Bellingham, pleaded not guilty to the charges against them last week.

The suspects are facing the same counts in Island County Superior Court.

Prosecutors charged each with two counts of kidnapping in the second degree, two counts of assault in the second degree and one count of malicious mischief in the third degree.

Deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a possible assault at a home on West Sleeper Road on Jan. 29. The people at the residence have “an extensive history of arguments and assaults,” according to the report by Deputy Sheriff Chris Garden.

As they arrived, the deputies encountered the three suspects leaving the home in a Ford Bronco. The Hodges, who are mother and daughter, and Arnold claimed they were attacked by two people at the residence.

Arnold claimed he had the “assailants” in the trunk of the car, a deputy’s report says.

A deputy found a 41-year-old woman and her 46-year-old boyfriend trapped in the trunk of a car. They were both injured; the man had a serious head injury, according to Garden’s report.

The woman said she thought the property was abandoned and went there with her boyfriend to retrieve personal items from her old travel trailer, which was parked at the residence. She said they had just pulled up when a Ford Bronco pulled in behind them. The suspects started yelling and attacked them, Garden wrote in his report.

The alleged victim claimed the suspects hit them with hammer and forced them into the trunk of her car, the report said.

“They shut the lid and were yelling that they were going to light the car on fire,” Garden said.

The suspects allegedly smashed a couple of windows in the car and placed a child’s tricycle and other items in the back seat.

The victims speculated that the attackers were trying to prevent them from exiting the trunk from the back seat, court documents said.

Deputies said they found a hammer and an empty gas can near the vehicle.

Arnold is being held on $25,000 bail. The judge set the women’s bail at $15,000 each.


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