|From left, Charles Vasil Statler, 53, of Santa Rosa, Calif; James Daniel Austin, 41, of Clearlake Oaks, Calif; and Ricky Lane McCullough, 58, of Clearlake Oaks, Calif., were arrested on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, on charges relating to the kidnapping of a woman that occurred on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Lake County Jail photos.|
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Law enforcement officials have arrested three men on charges relating to the kidnapping of a woman that occurred in December, with one of the suspects having been convicted of a 1997 murder.
Charles Vasil Statler, 53, of Santa Rosa, and Clearlake Oaks residents 41-year-old James Daniel Austin and Ricky Lane McCullough, 58, were arrested on Tuesday as a result of a continuing investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit, according to Lt. Steve Brooks.
Brooks said that on Dec. 12 Lake County Sheriff’s patrol deputies contacted a victim who reported that she was kidnapped by three men in the Upper Lake area on Dec. 4.
He said the victim reported her vehicle had been blocked by the men, who were in a separate vehicle. The men exited their vehicle and contacted the victim, telling her not to run. One of the suspects pulled the victim from inside her vehicle and threatened to kill her.
The suspects placed the victim into their vehicle and drove to a remote property in the Upper Lake area, Brooks said. One of the suspects followed in the victim’s vehicle.
Brooks reported that the suspects showed the victim a hole in the ground. They said if she did not tell them what they wanted to know, they were going to put her in the hole. They also placed the woman’s fingers into a pair of pliers and threatened to cut her fingers off.
The three men accused the victim of stealing marijuana worth $150,000, Brooks said.
After approximately two hours of threatening the victim, the suspects put her back into their vehicle and drove her around various areas of Lake County. Brooks said the suspects threatened to gang rape the victim if she did not tell them what they wanted.
After approximately seven hours, the suspects took the victim to her home. Brooks said the men took a large amount of cash from the victim and left her at her home.
Detectives continued the investigation and were able to identify the suspects. Brooks said arrest warrants were obtained for all of the suspects and they were arrested on Tuesday.
Brooks said Statler was arrested at the Lake County Hill Road Correctional Facility, where he was currently in custody for an unrelated case as wall as a parole violation stemming from a murder conviction, which occurred in Lake County in 1997.
Court documents showed that Statler killed Raymond Churchill by hitting him in the forehead with a skillet.
Statler was booked on a warrant charging him with kidnapping, carjacking, false imprisonment, robbery, criminal threats, threatening a victim, burglary and conspiracy. Statler’s bail is currently set at $1,000,000, Brooks said.
Brooks said Austin was booked on a warrant charging him with kidnapping, carjacking, false imprisonment, robbery, theft from a person and conspiracy. Austin’s bail is currently set at $300,000.
McCullough was booked on a warrant charging him with kidnapping, carjacking, false imprisonment and conspiracy. McCullough’s bail is currently set at $300,000, Brooks said.