SPRINGFIELD — Police say a man who was the victim of a homicide on Tuesday was also suspect in an incident involving an alleged kidnapping, assault and robbery in Springfield and Chester on July 30.

A news release from the Vermont State Police said troopers were dispatched to a home on Stanley Road in Springfield at about 3:30 a.m. on July 30. Several calls had been made to 911 about an alleged abduction of a man by four armed men.

After an investigation, police determined that Jesse LaFlam Sr., 49; Christopher Merritt, 40; Zachary Russell, 25; and Patrick Mullinnex, 38; had entered the Stanley Road home, restrained the home’s residents at gunpoint and assaulted them.

Russell is from Bennington and the other three are Springfield residents.

Travis Osmer, 33; Ashley Osmer, 34; and three juveniles ages 10, 6 and 5, were living in the home. The four men also allegedly restrained visitors to the home, Dustine Lombard, 40; Brandi Vilkauskas, 31; and Michael Myers, 30, who are all Springfield residents.

LaFlam, Merritt, Russell and Mullinnex allegedly removed Myers from the home by threat of force, robbed him of cash and restrained him at a site on Cummings Road in Chester, according to the release.

Myers eventually escaped and suffered minor injuries, police said. Travis Osmer also reported minor injuries.

On Thursday, troopers arrested LaFlam, Merritt and Russell and cited them for kidnapping, assault and robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and interference with access to emergency services.

The Bennington Police Department reported on Thursday that Mullinnex had been found dead from an apparent gunshot wound on Wednesday.

Police identified Raul E. Cardona. 28, of Springfield, Massachusetts, as the suspect they believe is responsible for the death of Mullinnex.

As of Thursday, police still were looking for Cardona but Bennington Police said there were some indications he had returned to Springfield, Massachusetts.

Police have not said whether they believe Mullinnex’s death is related to the alleged incident in Springfield.

LaFlam, Merritt and Russell are scheduled to be arraigned today in the Windsor County criminal court.

The Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations was assisted in this case by troopers with the Field Force Division, along with the Springfield Police Department, Vermont Probation and Parole, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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