Local
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Massachusetts

Boston Kidnapping Suspect to Get Full Evaluation at Hospital

What to Know

  • A Boston man will face a judge Wednesday morning on a kidnapping charge in the Olivia Ambrose disappearance case.
  • Victor Pena, 38, was arrested after authorities found the 23-year-old Ambrose alive in his Charlestown apartment in a housing project.
  • BPD Commissioner Gross says surveillance video images caught Pena "holding onto" Ambrose, and that "she did not go along willingly."

The man accused of kidnapping a 23-year-old woman in Boston over the weekend, sparking a frantic search, was ordered to undergo a full mental health evaluation after a court clinician said he displayed "psychotic" behavior ahead of his arraignment on Wednesday.

A Charlestown District Court judge ordered 38-year-old Victor Pena to be held without bail as he completes a 20-day mental health evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital before he's formally arraigned on a kidnapping charge in connection with the disappearance of Olivia Ambrose.

Pena was arrested Tuesday after authorities found Ambrose alive at a housing project in the city's Charlestown neighborhood.

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said Pena could face additional charges pending an interview with Ambrose and further investigation into her three-day disappearance.

Ambrose returned Tuesday night to her family home in Wenham, Massachusetts after being released from a local hospital following an evaluation.

"She's very strong," Heather Ambrose, Olivia's mother, told NBC10 Boston. "It's going to be a process, but she's OK."

Police and her family say Ambrose was at Hennessy's near Faneuil Hall with her twin sister and friends when she was seen leaving the bar Saturday night.

Early Tuesday, investigators released two surveillance images of a person of interest wanted in connection with Ambrose's disappearance in addition to a timeline of when she had been last seen at a Union Street bar and when she was last caught on surveillance video in Charlestown just hours before she was found alive.

Court paperwork released on Wednesday revealed additional police notes from surveillance videos, including video that allegedly showed Pena and another man approach Ambrose as she staggered across the street, adding that she appeared intoxicated and had difficulty walking.

"Through various camera systems in and around Congress Street, we were able to ascertain that the victim was seen walking on Congress Street, where she was later engaged by two males," Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said.

One of those men was identified as Pena. Gross said surveillance footage showed him "physically guiding and holding onto" Ambrose.

"It's obvious from the video surveillance that she did not go along willingly," Gross said.

Investigators also said that they learned Ambrose had activated her phone on Tuesday "and she was sending messages to her mother," according to court documents.

Her phone's location indicated she was on Walford Way and Corey Street in Charlestown, and police requested the Boston Housing Authority open a door to conduct a protective sweep, investigators wrote in the police report.

Pena's apartment had a private lock, which is against BHA rules. A BHA employee drilled and dismantled the top lock to his apartment at 49 Walford Way after detectives had waited around 20 minutes for Pena to open his door to their knocking. Prior to the lower locks being opened, however, detectives heard the locks being opened from the inside.

When detectives got into the apartment, they found Ambrose standing next to Pena and "crying with a horrified look on her face," the court documents stated. When she was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital to be evaluated, Ambrose told detectives that Pena allegedly took her phone and refused to let her leave the apartment.

NBC10 Boston has learned more about Pena's criminal history and spoke exclusively to his ex-girlfriend, Maybely Centeno, who claimed Pena was abusive, which led her to file a prevention order against him in 2013. She pressed charges after she says he came too close to her home. The case was dismissed.

"One time in the house, he asked me, 'How do you want to die. Slow or fast?'" Centeno recalled.

The night before police found Ambrose one neighbor who lives downstairs from Pena told NBC10 Boston she could hear music blaring from inside.

"I could hear the music from here. It was loud, but I didn't know what was going on," the neighbor recalled.

The neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, said her family is not surprised to hear of Pena's arrest given past incidents including one where they say he tried to bring a female relative into his home.

"He was like trying to invite her into the home. She felt uncomfortable and she ran out," said the neighbor.

Gross said police do not know why Pena would kidnap Ambrose or how he kept her from escaping, saying they found no weapons in the apartment.

It's unclear if Pena has an attorney.

Police have identified and cleared the second man seen near Pena and Ambrose on surveillance video on Congress Street. The man, who police did not identify, turned himself into detectives and is considered a witness in the investigation.

The investigation into Ambrose's disappearance and kidnapping is ongoing.

Pena's next court date is Feb. 11.

Contact Us