SPRINGVALE — Three people from Sanford have been charged with holding a 28-year-old man against his will inside an abandoned apartment, demanding ransom and then stabbing him when he attempted to flee, Sanford police said.

According to local and state police investigators, Shantel Rodriguez, 25, Dylan Austin, 26, and Cody Boudreau, 22, lured Justin Richardson to an Emery Street apartment Jan. 11 and held him for several hours.

“The victim was forced to make phone calls to procure a large sum of money to secure his release,” Sanford Police said in a statement. “During this period of captivity, the victim was beaten and feared for his life.”

All are charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault, both felonies, and bail was originally set at $10,000 each. Boudreau pleaded not-guilty at his initial appearance Monday in Springvale District Court. His bail was lowered to $7,500 and he was released Monday afternoon, according to the York County jail.

Rodriguez also pleaded not-guilty. Her bail was set at $7,500 and she was still incarcerated Monday evening.

Austin was also still being held at York County jail Monday, but has not yet made his initial appearance. His bail remained at $10,000, according to police.

Police also did not say how much money the trio were seeking, or whether any of the ransom was paid.

The plot to extract the money from Richardson surfaced when Richardson’s mother, identified in court records as Anna Weston, called 911 in Sanford about 12:21 a.m. to report that her son was apparently being held against his will and that his captors were demanding money.

In a brief phone interview, Weston said she has been mostly estranged from her son for about two years, and that he sometimes calls to ask if he can borrow money and move home.

“I don’t have good relations with my son,” Weston said, before ending the interview.

At 1:36 a.m., police received another 911 call from an Emery Street resident who reported that someone knocked on his door and he was asked to call police for a man who had been hit in the face with a pipe, according to a search warrant application.

Police also said in a statement that a neighbor spotted Richardson and called police. It was not clear if the person who knocked on the neighbor’s door was Richardson or someone else. A message to a police spokesman regarding the discrepancy about how Richardson was discovered by authorities was not immediately returned.

When police responded to the area, they found Richardson with a stab wound to his chest. Detectives also found blood near an abandoned duplex at 11 Emery St.

His injuries were considered life-threatening and the Maine State Police major crimes unit, which investigates all homicides in Maine outside of Portland and Bangor, was alerted.

Richardson’s heart was damaged in the stabbing, and he underwent surgery at Maine Medical Center, according to court records. He has since been released from the hospital and is recovering, police said.

Both Sanford and state police worked on the investigation, and on Jan. 12, police executed search warrants at two locations – the Emery Street apartment where the assault allegedly took place, and Rodriguez’s home on Main Street in Sanford.

Inside the abandoned apartment police collected trace evidence, an American flag and a section of mattress fabric.

Austin – who is Rodriguez’s boyfriend, according to court records – told police that he went to the abandoned apartment because Rodriguez agreed to help a friend retrieve some possessions from the apartment.

When the group arrived at the abandoned duplex, Austin told police, “a guy named Justin” was already there.

“Austin said when they got to the residence a guy named ‘Justin’ was there upstairs and he started freaking out or tweeking,” police wrote in the search warrant application. “Justin had a knife in his hand and was swinging it.”

Austin told police that he thought the knife might still be in the apartment. Austin said he then heard Justin coming down the stairs, heard glass breaking, got nervous and left the home a short time later.

In an interview with a detective, however, Rodriguez said she was in some type of a fight with Richardson at the Emery Street location, and that during the confrontation, Rodriguez pulled out a knife she was carrying. She told the detective that she took it home with her after the encounter and left it on her dresser.

When police executed the search warrant at Rodriguez’s home, they collected a knife – it was unknown whether it was the same knife – in addition to suspected drugs and several guns.

An inventory of items taken from Rodriguez’s home include several suspected drugs, including Fentenyl, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, assorted pills, Suboxone strips and cocaine base, as well as four handguns and a rifle or shotgun.

Warrants for the arrest of the three suspects were issued Feb. 1, and Austin was arrested during a traffic stop that day. Rodriguez was found on Riverside Avenue in Sanford and arrested Feb. 2, and on Feb. 3, Boudreau turned himself in to the York County Jail.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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