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Man Sucks Thumb, Wails In Court After Being Accused Of Kidnapping Boston Woman

A court psychologist said that it's possible that Victor Pena, who is accused of kidnapping Olivia Ambrose and holding her captive for days, is exaggerating his mental health issues.

By Gina Tron
Victor Pena

The Massachusetts man accused of kidnapping a woman over the weekend and keeping her captive for three days reportedly spent his first court appearance Wednesday sobbing and talking to himself.

Olivia Ambrose, 23, vanished on Saturday after she went to Hennessy’s Bar in Boston with her twin sister Francesca and a group of friends. On Tuesday, police announced that Victor Pena, 38, of Boston was arrested and charged with kidnapping in connection to Ambrose’s disappearance. They said they found Ambrose alive at his apartment after they burst into the home, the Boston Globe reports. She was reportedly crying and had a "horrified look on her face,” according to court documents cited by Boston’s WBUR. Pena was restrained by police after he allegedly made it clear he wanted to fight. After she was rescued, Ambrose was sent her to a nearby hospital for a health evaluation.

Pena was ordered to undergo an evaluation of his own on Wednesday after he sobbed and appeared to talk to himself during his first court appearance, the Boston Globe reports. He pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and the judge ordered him to undergo a mental competency evaluation. He will spend 20 days at Bridgewater State Hospital and will will reappear in court on Feb. 11.

During that court appearance, a court psychologist testified that Pena sucked his thumb when she talked to him. She said that he claimed to hear voices, said he was forced to snort cocaine in the past and that he appeared to be confused about why he was in the court.

However, she did note that it was possible that he was fabricating his own mental health issues, according to the Boston Globe.  

His brother Jose Pena, though, told the Boston Globe that his sibling’s mental capacity is equal to that of a child.

“Him kidnapping her, I’m 100 percent sure he didn’t,” he said, claiming his brother explained to him that Ambrose went to his home willingly on Saturday to spend the night.

At a press conference held earlier this week, Boston Police Department Commissioner William Gross explained that Ambrose was found inside Pena’s apartment.

“When we made entry she was observed standing in the apartment near the suspect," he said. "We eventually separated them and the suspect was apprehended."

Gross made it clear that evidence points to Ambrose being taken against her wishes. He said, “it’s obvious from video surveillance [Ambrose] did not go along willingly."

Surveillance footage released Tuesday, before Ambrose was found, showed her on the streets with two men. At one point, one of the men put her arm around her and appeared to lead her off to another location. Police called the man in the footage a person of interest.

Victor Pena was arrested over the summer at Rhode Island's Twin River Casino in July on charges of cheating and obtaining money under false pretenses. He was also accused in 2013 of violating a restraining order that his ex-girlfriend took out against him, but that charge was later dropped, according to the Associated Press.

Pena’s alleged motive for kidnapping Ambrose, who only recently returned to the Boston area after spending some time in Europe, has not yet been disclosed nor has it been made clear what happened during the three days that Ambrose was missing.

[Photo: Associated Press]