The dead bodies found on the property of Massachusetts kidnapping suspect Stewart Weldon are the remains of three local women who had been missing for months, police said.
They identified the victims as Kayla Escalante, 31, of Ludlow, Massachusetts, and Ernestine Ryan, 47, and America Lyden, 34, both of Springfield, according to MassLive.com.
Investigators unearthed the bodies last week after Weldon (pictured) led officers on a wild car chase with a terrified captive in his car, according to police — and after his mother called cops about a rank smell near his Springfield property.
Lyden had missing since December, and a missing person report had been filed for Ryan in March, authorities said. The last post to Escalante’s Facebook page was made in December, according to MassLive.com.
Police spent the weekend combing over Weldon’s property, which is located on a busy thoroughfare in the East Springfield neighborhood, with ground-penetrating radar in search of any more human remains after finding the three bodies, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said in a press conference.
Weldon, who is being held on $1 million bail in connection to kidnapping charges for allegedly holding the woman in his car captive, was also charged in a separate kidnapping charge after a second woman came forward and accused him of trying to kidnap her earlier this year, the Boston Globe reported. He is being held on an additional $1 million bail for that charge.
Cops initially arrested Weldon on May 27, after they attempted to pull him over for driving with a busted tail light and sucessfully pursued him when he fled, according to the Boston Globe.
When officers handcuffed Weldon, they found a bruised and battered woman in his car suffering from a serious infection in her leg. She wept as she thanked police for saving her from her captor, who she said had been holding her against her will for about a month, repeatedly raping her and beating her with a hammer, police told the Globe.
Weldon, who neighbors said shared the home with a child and a young woman, was a wanted man at the time of his arrest, having cut off a GPS bracelet he was ordered to wear as part of a prior criminal case three months ago, the Globe reported.
Neighbors are asking themselves how bodies ended up in their neighbor’s yard without their noticing, according to a Springfield City Counselor who spoke with the Globe.
“My sister lives across the street from this gentleman,” said City Counselor Adam Gomez. “That’s the scary part in my life, realizing that this could be your next-door neighbor. That’s how it hit home for me.”
[Photo: Springfield Police Department]