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Police: 2 arrested after 18-year-old kidnapped at knifepoint in Caldwell

The victim told police he was beaten and nearly suffocated with a trash bag while being held against his will in an apartment.
Credit: Canyon County Jail
Alfredo Valenzuela, left, and David Matthew Phillips

CALDWELL, Idaho — Two men are facing felony charges after police say an 18-year-old man was beaten and nearly suffocated while being held against his will in an apartment. 

Alfredo Valenzuela, 36, and David Matthew Phillips, 28, were taken into custody Saturday. 

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, the victim was attending a party on Rooster Lane in an apartment above the apartment at which Valenzuela lived. A woman who attended the party told police that Valenzuela had come up to the upstairs apartment several times asking for cocaine. 

The witness said Valenzuela appeared to be very drunk, at one point telling the partygoers that he was a member of a local gang "and that he controlled all of Caldwell." 

The 18-year-old victim told police that he went to warm up his car at about 1 a.m. in preparation to leave the party. But once he reached the ground floor, he said, Valenzuela and Phillips came up behind him. According to the victim, Valenzuela held a knife to his back and forced him to walk into the suspect's apartment. 

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According to court documents, Valenzuela told the 18-year-old that he was "going to teach him a lesson" because one of the victim's friends had claimed to be a gang member. He said Valenzuela punched him several times in the face, and put a plastic garbage bag over his head, tightening it until he could barely breathe. 

According to court documents, Valenzuela held kitchen knives to the victim's throat and threatened to kill him. 

The men also took his car keys, wallet, and a Ruger handgun the 18-year-old had been carrying, according to police. At some point, the magazine fell out of the handgun onto the floor. 

"[Victim] said he picked it up and concealed it because he was afraid that if Alfredo got it he would load the gun and shoot him," investigators wrote. "[Victim] said he thought he was going to be killed by Alfredo."

The man told police that he was held at the apartment for about an hour. The victim's sister and one of her friends, who were also attending the upstairs party, became concerned after he did not come back from warming up the car. They told investigators that they believed that Valenzuela might have something to do with the 18-year-old's disappearance because of the suspect's behavior earlier that night. 

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The women went to the suspect's door to see if the 18-year-old was there. The victim told police that his sister saw him, and told him it was time to go home, but Phillips was holding a knife to his back.

"[Victim] said that he thought if he tried to leave, that David would stab him," investigators wrote. 

The man's sister continued to insist that they needed to go home. The victim told police he shoved Phillips, grabbed his keys and ran out the open apartment door. 

At that point, according to police, Valenzuela grabbed the victim's sister by her jacket and tried to pull her into the apartment. The 18-year-old told investigators that he realized once he was outside that Valenzuela was holding onto his sister, so he picked up a rock and threw it through the suspect's kitchen window to distract him. 

The sister was able to pull out of Valenzuela's grasp and get away, she told police. The victim then called 911. 

Investigators say the 18-year-old had bruising on his face and a scratch to his throat. He was able to describe the apartment and its contents to police, and told investigators that Valenzuela was wearing "a black-and-red court jester or joker type costume hat with bells on it" during the incident. 

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The man told police that he had left his wallet, its contents, and the handgun behind, but did still have the loaded magazine in his pocket. 

Officers from Caldwell Police went to the apartment to investigate, according to court documents, and found the black-and-red jester hat on the kitchen counter, several black-handled kitchen knives on the counter and in the sink, and a plastic garbage bag on the floor that appeared to have been opened up and filled with air.

"I examined the bag briefly and it appeared to have a place in the middle of the bag where the plastic was stretched out as if it had been pulled on," the investigator wrote. "All of these items were within a few feet of each other in the kitchen." 

Valenzuela denied kidnapping the man, police say, telling investigators that he had been asleep when he was awakened by the sound of someone throwing a rock through his window. He said he thought his apartment was being shot at, so he barricaded the doors. 

"Alfredo said the rock breaking his apartment window was the first encounter he had with anyone outside of his apartment during the evening," investigators wrote.

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Phillips told police that he and Valenzuela were inside the apartment drinking and listening to music when someone threw a rock through the window. He said that he was just visiting Valenzuela's home, but did not know of any conflicts between him and the neighbors. 

The victim, his sister, and the sister's friend were all able to pick both Valenzuela and Phillips out of photo lineups as the men involved. Both were arrested and booked into the Canyon County Jail.

Valenzuela is charged with robbery, second-degree kidnapping, grand theft, battery and false imprisonment, while Phillips is charged with felony aggravated assault, grand theft, burglary, and misdemeanor theft. 

Both men are currently held on a $250,000 bond. They are due to appear in court March 20 for a preliminary hearing.

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