Man Accused of Kidnapping Olivia Ambrose Sent to Bridgewater State Hospital

Victor Pena, 38, of Charlestown sobs after being ordered to undergo a 20-day mental health evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital at his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon after being arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Olivia Ambrose.

The Charlestown man arrested in connection with the disappearance of 23-year-old Olivia Ambrose has been sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for mental evaluation.

Victor Pena, 38, who has lived in the Bunker Hill Housing Development for the past decade, was ordered to undergo a 20-day mental health evaluation at Bridgewater at his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

Doctors who evaluated Pena told the court that the suspect did not seem to know why he was in court and exhibited psychotic and bizarre behavior–at one point dropping to his knees and praying and ‘asking for forgiveness.’

He will return to Charlestown District Court for his official arraignment on Febr. 11 with court appointed attorney, Joseph Perullo.

Pena was arrested Tuesday inside his apartment on Walford Way where arresting officers also found an emotionally distraught Ambrose.

Ambrose had been missing since around 11 p.m. Saturday night when she was separated from her twin sister and a group of friends at Hennessey’s Bar in Faneuil Hall.

Ambrose, who moved from Wenham to Jamaica Plain recently, was reported missing by her family Sunday when she failed to return home to her Boston apartment.

On Tuesday Boston Police released video surveillance of Ambrose in the company of Pena, as well as a timeline events after she left the bar in Boston. At 11:42 p.m. two unknown males, one later identified as Pena, are observed inviting Ambrose to walk with them in the area of Congress Street and State Street. One of the males appears to walk ahead while the second male, later determined to be Pena by police, places his arm around Ambrose and directs her towards the State Street MBTA Station.
Twenty minutes later at 12:01 a.m. additional video showed Ambrose being accompanied by Pena, still with his arm around her, exiting the Bunker Hill Community MBTA Station in Charlestown. The other male party is no longer observed in any surveillance video moving forward. The other male later turned himself into police, has been cleared and is now considered a witness by investigators.

Ten minutes later at 12:13 a.m. Ambrose and Pena are observed again in the area of Green Street walking together towards Bartlett Street. A short time later, phone records indicate Ambrose’s phone was in the general area of the Bunker Hill Housing Development.

Using the above footage, as well as a search of MBTA Charlie Card holders living on Walford Way, police said they had probable cause to believe Pena was Ambrose’s abductor.

Detectives enlisted the help of the Boston Housing Authority management who led them to Pena’s apartment at 49 Walford Way with the intent of opening the door for the police. However, according to reports Pena had installed a private lock on his apartment door–against BHA rules.

Officers were forced to knock for 20 minutes while other officers drilled the private lock off Pena’s door.

Once the private lock was off, Pena finally answered the door.

Police found him and Ambrose standing next to each other in the hallway and Ambrose was “crying with a horrified look on her face.”

In a statement to The Boston Globe, Ambrose’s family said, “The Ambrose family is so grateful for the monumental efforts of the Boston Police Department and the MBTA and Transit police who have worked tirelessly over the last three days to bring Olivia home. The family is overjoyed.”

The Suspect

Victor Pena previously lived in Newark, N.J., and Pennsylvania, and had previously violated restraining orders in 2008 and 2014, according to reports, but both were dismissed. 

Apparently he was known to MBTA Police because due to an incident in 2009. That year a woman complained that Pena was stalking her at the Downtown Crossing MBTA station. The woman got off the train at Back Bay and Pena followed her before she reported his behavior to an information officer working at kioske in the station. He was told to leave the station.

Another incident revealed that Pena was ushered off another train by MBTA police when he sat directly next to two uneraged girls on an empty train making them feel uncomfortable.

He was also arrested for giving false information to gaming officials in a Rhode Island casino.

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