Cumberland Times-News

January 31, 2014

Martinsburg man held elderly woman captive for days


Associated Press

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Martinsburg man allegedly beat a 74-year-old woman, held her captive for several days and forced her to transfer money out of her bank accounts, state police said Friday.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court, Alvaro A. Vilela forced his way into Carol Dyall’s home, beat her with a piece of wood, tied her up and took her to his residence. After friends began getting strange telephone calls and emails from Dyall that they described as being out of character, state police eventually tracked the calls to Vilela’s residence and arrested him.

Dyall was hospitalized for arm and leg bruises and at least one broken bone, Trooper C.J. Hill in Charles Town said.

Vilela, 49, was charged Wednesday with kidnapping, unlawful restraint, extortion, and violent crimes against and financial exploitation of the elderly.

The complaint said Vilela took financial statements, computers and Dyall’s phone, bound her legs, arms and mouth, put her in the trunk of her vehicle and parked his vehicle in her garage. Vilela then drove her vehicle to local banks and other establishments where he used her credit cards.

Vilela then drove to his home, wrapped Dyall in a sheet and carried her inside. She remained tied and bound in an upstairs bedroom.

There, she was “forced into acts and false confessions,” the complaint said. “She was in fear for her life and was told that she would be suffocated with plastic wrap and left to be found by police if she did not cooperate.”

The complaint said she was ordered to access more than $400,000 at financial institutions and start money transfers to Vilela. The exact amount of money transferred wasn’t disclosed.

Dyall told Hill that she was held captive at Vilela’s home for six days, while Vilela indicated the imprisonment lasted 10 days, according to the complaint.

Hill said he responded to a call on Jan. 24 that Dyall hadn’t been seen for several days.

Friends of the woman began receiving odd, brief phone calls and emails “in poor English” from the victim. Hill received a similar phone call from Dyall on Tuesday and “could detect deception within her story,” the complaint said.

Hill tried to call the woman back but the phone was out of service. Shortly thereafter, Hill began receiving calls from financial institutions that the woman was attempting to move money from one account to another. The complaint said the transfers “were out of her character.”

After tracking the calls from Dyall to Vilela’s residence, troopers went to the home, which had several doors and windows secured with plywood and screws, the complaint said.

Vilela was held without bond Friday on the kidnapping charge and on $100,000 bond on the other charges at the Eastern Regional Jail. Jail records didn’t indicate whether he had an attorney.