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Authorities Identify Bodies Of Three Women Found At Springfield Kidnapping Suspect's Home

       Authorities have identified the bodies discovered at a house in Springfield, Massachusetts as three women.  Two of them had been reported as missing persons to the police. 

      Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said the medical examiner’s office had identified the remains as Kayla Escalante, 27, of Ludlow, America Lyden, 34,  and Ernestine Ryans, 47,  both of Springfield.

         The cause and manner of their deaths have not yet been determined.

      "It is tragic, it is awful and unlike anything I have ever seen," said Gulluni.

      Since last Wednesday when the remains were discovered, investigators have been painstakingly examining the property at 1333 Page Blvd.   Gulluni said the onsite investigation, which has included the use of ground-penetrating radar, will likely go on for several more days.

      At a news conference Monday, Gulluni would reveal little about the ongoing investigation. He declined to comment on whether the bodies were found inside the house, or buried on the property.

      No one has been charged in connection with the women’s deaths.   A man who lived at the address, Stewart Weldon, 40, is in jail on unrelated charges.

     " I am not declaring any suspects because we do not have a manner of death given to us by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, but there is no reason to believe there is any heightened threat and I have said that from the very beginning," said Gulluni.

      He would not comment on whether there was any known connection between Weldon and the three dead women.

       Springfield police arrested Weldon on May 27th when he was pulled over for a broken tail light. A woman in the car told police she had been held captive for a month, tortured, and raped.   Police charged Weldon with kidnapping and assault.

       Gulluni said the 25-year-old woman remains hospitalized.

      On Monday, Weldon was back in court in Springfield to be arraigned on charges of kidnapping and assault to rape an alleged victim different from the woman found in his car.

       Weldon, who has a lengthy criminal record both in Massachusetts and New Jersey is now being held on total bail of $2 million.

        Gulluni offered his sympathies to the families of the three dead women, who had been notified about the identifications earlier in the day.

        "They are needless to say distraught and heartbroken," said Gulluni.

              A missing persons report on Lyden was filed with the Springfield Police Department on December 1, 2017.   Relatives of Ryans reported her missing last March 18th, according to police records.

       Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri said both cases were thoroughly investigated.

       " Missing persons investigations are conducted by the Major Crimes Unit and usually assigned to detectives who specialize in it," Barbieri said.

       Relatives of the missing women had also made appeals on social media for information about their whereabouts.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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