Three people are accused of holding a pregnant woman hostage in a locked, alarmed room in a bid to steal her unborn baby.
William Geer, Jilliane and Joshua Mencel are accused of kidnapping the woman, along with her two-year-old child in Rochester, New York, and keeping them captive for several weeks, WHEC reports.
During that time, they ‘repeatedly hit and choked her, pulled out chunks of her hair and repeatedly threatened to kill her and her unborn child,’ according to police reports.
Jilliane Mencel choked the unidentified victim until she passed out sometime between June 3 and August 1, Rochester police say.
But although neighbors called police in early August to report the constant screams they were hearing, police only entered when someone reported a man with a gun in the house on Santee Street.
Police found the victim inside the locked room. She is still pregnant and living in a local shelter.
Geer is the victim’s former fiancé and the father of her two-year-old child, according to the district attorney’s office. It is not known if he is also the father of her unborn baby.
At an arraignment, prosecutors said the defendants harmed the victim so they could take her two-year-old child.
Authorities said Geer and the Mencels have known the victim since they were neighbors some time ago. The Mencels returned to Rochester from Texas and moved into Geer’s home on Santee Street earlier this year.
Jilliance Mencel, described by prosecutors as the ‘central ring leader,’ is charged with first-degree kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and felony strangulation.
Joshua Mencel is charged with first-degree kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and third-degree assault.
Geer faces second-degree kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment charges.
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