APD: Suspects tortured man over stolen car
Two men and a woman held another man against his will over a stolen vehicle, then tortured him before the man escaped his captors, authorities said over the weekend.
Police arrested Damen Koso, 27, and Bonita Severian, 48, on Friday; later apprehended Peter Calugan late Saturday night. All three face kidnapping charges.
They sought information on a car Severian owns, so they beat, tased and poured bleach over Haley, who they also forced to strip according to court documents prepared prosecutors and police.
According to Assistant District Attorney James Klugman’s charging papers filed over the weekend:
On July 15, Severian asked Haley to care for her car while she was arrested on outstanding warrants. The car, however, was stolen later that evening.
Just before midnight Thursday, the two encountered one another at Walmart on Muldoon. Haley agreed to go to her place not far from the Walmart.
Once they arrived at Severian called Koso and Calugan to the home where they demanded information on Severian’s car.
“When [the victim] said that he didn’t know, Koso and Calugan began beating and kicking him; they then shocked him with a taser, poured bleach on him, and made him strip naked,” Klugman wrote. “Koso and Calugan explained that the vehicle contained $10,000 which he needed to pay a debt, and threatened to kill Haley and his family if he refused to return the car to them.”
Severian had been trying to locate her car by posting photos of Haley and the car on Facebook, “promising a reward to anyone who would bring them to her.”
She also asked people, including Koso and Calugan to help her, according to Klugman.
Koso forced the victim to log into Facebook to review any comments he had made about the car from his account, prosecutors said. Soon afterward, he and Calugan forced Haley into a white pickup truck at gunpoint.
Police first learned of the case around 4 a.m. on Friday, after the truck stopped at Lake Otis Parkway and Tudor Road. According to Anchorage Police, Haley “climbed out of the truck’s window, escaped (and) ran to a road construction crew for help.”
After his escape, the pickup drove off and a member of the road crew called 911 for help. Medics were called to assist him, police spokesman M.J. Thim said, but there wasn’t any word on the extent of his injuries or whether he was hospitalized for them.
In a separate court document, police wrote Haley had visible signs of facial and head injuries and smelled of bleach.
Detectives gathered information on the case and asked APD officers to arrest the suspects. Koso and Severian were taken into custody separately at about 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday respectively, near the 3500 block of Lois Drive and the intersection of 32nd Avenue and Pussywillow Street. Both were driving white pickup trucks. On Saturday, they arrested Calugan.
“[Koso] refused to stop and attempted to escape,” police wrote. “Officers blocked the suspect vehicle in and the driver eventually surrendered.”
A search of Severian’s house found the victim’s backpack, prosecutors said, as well as large amounts of spilled bleach – and his clothing, some of which was so drenched with bleach that a “hole had been burned through them.”
Koso denied assaulting the victim, but an instant message sent to his phone Thursday read, “I have [the victim].”
Severian, at first, denied that any dispute had happened at her home, according to the charging document. She then admitted to one taking place but said she was in the bathroom during the incident.
“[Severian] acknowledged that she might have put bleach on the counter because it was dirty,” Klugman wrote. “She also claimed to have washed Haley’s clothing because it was dirty. (Severian could not explain how [he] came to remove his clothing.)”
In his report, Klugman wrote Haley was able to identify Koso because he “had purchased heroin from him in the past.”
Thim said additional charges may be pending in the case, which kept investigators busy Friday night as the arrests unfolded during two Mountain View homicides just hours apart.
“The detectives handling this were all from the robbery/assault and homicide unit,” Thim said. “They had three high-priority investigations going on.”
Rachel McPherron contributed information to this story.
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