3 bodies found at home of Massachusetts man pulled over for broken taillight: police

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jun 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-04 16:48:48-04

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The bodies of three adult women were found at the home of a Massachusetts man who has been charged in two separate kidnapping cases, police said.

"It's tragic. It's awful. It's unlike anything I've ever seen," Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said Monday.

The victims were identified as Ernestine Ryans, 47, of Springfield; America Lyden, 34, of Springfield; and Kayla Escalante, 27, of Ludlow. The cause or manner of their death is not yet clear, and Gulluni said they were being treated as suspicious.

The incident began last week when police said they tried to pull over Stewart Weldon, 40, for a broken taillight. Weldon led them on a police chase, police said, and he eventually crashed into a police cruiser and fought officers who tried to arrest him.

An injured woman who was in the car with Weldon thanked police for saving her life, telling officers through tears, "He's going to kill me," according to the police report.

The investigation led police to search Weldon's house, which is registered to his mother, according to property records. Two bodies were initially found on the property, and then a third body was found Thursday afternoon, Gulluni said.

Two of the three had been reported as missing in Springfield some time in the distant past, Gulluni said. The reports were investigated very thoroughly but not solved, he added.

In December, Springfield police issued a Facebook post asking for information on Lyden's whereabouts. She was reported missing in December and had not been in contact with her family since June, according to the Springfield police post.

Kidnapping charges

Weldon was arraigned last week on charges of kidnapping, threat to commit a crime, carrying a dangerous weapon and resisting arrest.

On Monday, he pleaded not guilty through his lawyer in Springfield District Court to additional charges of kidnapping and assault with intent to commit a rape. He has not been charged in connection with the discovery of the bodies.

CNN reached out to Weldon's attorney for comment but had received no response by Monday afternoon.

The two kidnapping charges are separate cases with separate alleged victims, Gulluni said. The judge set bail at $1 million cash for the new charges, in addition to the $1 million bail set last week.

Officials said the woman in the vehicle with Weldon told them he held her captive in his home for the last month and raped her several times. Police recovered two knives from Weldon's pockets, according to court records.

The woman was an acquaintance of Weldon's, according to Gulluni.

She suffered several stab wounds, marks from being hit with a blunt object and a possible fractured jaw, court records said. The woman told police Weldon hit her with a hammer. The woman is in the hospital and recovering, Gulluni said.

In their search of Weldon's home, authorities were using ground penetrating technology to "intensely" search the property, officials said Friday.

The Department Children and Families in Massachusetts told CNN last week that a child was taken into custody from the home. But authorities didn't provide any information about the child's condition or any relation to the suspect or the woman.

Previous arrests

Weldon had three active warrants and a revoked driver's license at the time of his arrest, according to court records. Weldon has previously been charged with crimes in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

According to a Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information report, Weldon was charged with breaking and entering in 2012 and two assault with a dangerous weapon charges, one in 2012 and one in 2008.

In addition, Weldon was previously charged with burglary, two counts of burglary, and theft, according to New Jersey public records.