LITCHFIELD — Following an hours-long manhunt, a Litchfield man accused of kidnapping a woman and threatening her with a knife was arrested early Wednesday morning.

Joshua Tilley, 36, is charged with domestic violence assault and kidnapping. He was taken to Kennebec County jail in Augusta, according to Steve McCausland, state Department of Public Safety spokesperson. Tilley made his initial court appearance in Kennebec County District Court Wednesday afternoon, and had bail set at $500,000 cash.

Tilley had been sought by Maine State Police after they began looking for a woman who had texted 911 Monday night, saying she was in distress. She turned up safe Tuesday afternoon where police had been gathering at the intersection of Dead River and South Adams roads, attempting to make contact with her and Tilley.

A probable cause affidavit written by State Police Trooper Tyler Plourde said the Augusta Regional Communications Center received a text message at 5:05 p.m. on Monday originating from 746 Dead River Road in Litchfield. The message read, “he’s going to kill me,” and was associated with the Dead River Road property. Plourde said he responded to the address, but at the same time, the phone number texted 911 again and said, “sorry, it was my son.”

Troopers repeatedly contacted the phone number. The voicemail message traced back to the victim and the address was known to a trooper to be that of Tilley’s. Plourde said in the affidavit that Tilley was on probation, and was wanted for a parole violation and an aggravated assault charge in Arizona.

Joshua Tilley

Troopers then started “pinging” the phone to check on the welfare of the owner. The cellphone carrier began providing updates on the location of the phone, but it suddenly stopped, leading troopers to believe it was turned off.

Around 6:30 p.m. Monday, the victim then called the communications center and reported she was in Rideout’s Market in Windsor. She said Tilley had kicked her and made “homicidal and suicidal statements.” Police called the market and an employee reportedly said Tilley pushed the victim into a vehicle and left toward China. The phone then pinged to Damariscotta Lake and Chelsea, and finally the Dead River Road property. It stayed at that location until 10:48 a.m. Tuesday, when police began gathering there.

Officers made contact with the woman around 3 p.m. Tuesday after she was brought to the scene by a Veterans Administration vehicle. Police photographed her, she gave them a statement and she was evaluated by paramedics from Gardiner. State Police Lt. Pat Hood said Wednesday the police were able to obtain an arrest warrant based on her testimony.

The affidavit states that the victim told police she was involved in a “domestic incident” with Tilley and she sent the text to 911 because “she was in fear for her life while (Tilley) tried to stab her with a knife.” Tilley reportedly took her phone and sent the second text message. She said she was taken to one of Tilley’s friend’s houses, but she didn’t know where it was. She and Tilley returned to Litchfield, but she had an appointment at the veteran’s hospital and she was picked up by a member of the Veterans Administration. On her way back, she encountered police and confirmed Tilley was in the house with her phone.

The Kennebec Journal is not naming the woman because she is the alleged victim of domestic violence.

Police remained at the scene, attempting to make contact with Tilley. By 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, about a dozen police vehicles blocked the road, set up spike strips and dispatched a negotiation team to assist with making contact with Tilley. After being unsuccessful in contacting him, police entered the house at about 9 p.m. Tuesday. That was, Hood said, about the same time Tilley snuck through the police perimeter and into the woods, setting off a manhunt that stretched into Wednesday morning.

“We knew he left the house,” Hood said. “We did have a perimeter around the house, but there are holes in a perimeter and he was able to get through that.

Maine State Police return to a command post Tuesday night on Dead River Road in Litchfield after searching for Joshua Tilley. Tilley was arrested for kidnapping Wednesday morning after being spotted on the road. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“At some point after dark, he left the house and we began tracking last night with K-9 teams and had no contact with him,” he added. “Early this morning, we actually left the area (and) let it calm down a bit.”

Tilley was taken into custody without incident at about 7 a.m. Wednesday, after police got a tip from Dead River Road residents. Hood said two residents reported seeing Tilley around 5:30 a.m. and notified police.

McCausland said he was located “on a long driveway” about a mile away from the property at 746 Dead River Road.

“Ultimately, it was that tip from neighbors, which we are very thankful for, that got us back here and ultimately led to him being taken into custody,” Hood said.

The Dead River Road property, according to Hood, reportedly is owned by Tilley’s parents; McCausland said Tilley lives at the property. Before a short media briefing Wednesday morning, a woman was very animated as she spoke with Hood at the property. A screen door was bent on the front door of the home, which Hood said was caused by police entry.

Hood said Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s deputies assisted with the investigation.

Maine State Police attempt to make contact with a couple on the Dead River Road in Litchfield who they have been searching for since early Tuesday morning. A woman texted that she was being detained by a man and troopers located his vehicle off the Dead River Road. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Tilley appeared in Kennebec County District Court via video from the Kennebec County jail in Augusta Wednesday afternoon.

Attorneys sought to revoke Tilley’s probation in relation to a 2016 conviction for domestic violence terrorizing. Tilley denied that he violated probation and is due back in court on Sept. 26 and is being held without bail pending the hearing on this motion.

On the charges related to Tuesday’s standoff, Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney requested $500,000 cash bail and no contact with the victim. Attorney Steve Bourget said he felt the bail was too high, adding that he reviewed the probable cause affidavit and didn’t see anything about the use of a restraint or evidence of an assault.

Judge Thomas Nale said he reviewed the case and felt Maloney’s request was reasonable and set the bail accordingly.

Tilley asked Nale if he could address the court, but did not make a statement after the judge told him to discuss with it with Bourget. He is due back in court on the new charges on Nov. 5. He did not enter a plea.

Maloney mentioned that Tilley had an extraditable warrant in Arizona, but she said she had not heard back from Arizona officials so they were proceeding with the charges in Maine.

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