Crime

Pasco man arrested following disturbing Craigslist encounter

A Craigslist encounter nearly turned violent for a 45-year-old woman who was reportedly held against her will at an abandoned Kennewick home.

The woman met Eugenio Colon III, 42, who went by Tony, on the “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist. They then met in person at a Kennewick gas station about 9 p.m. Aug. 17 and she got into his truck, police said.

Colon apparently began talking to imaginary people and pulled the truck into an abandoned lot, where he placed pillows over the windows, police said.

The woman tried to get out of the truck, but the door was locked, police said. She started crying and pleaded with Colon not to kill her.

Colon then told the woman that it was not his decision and said, “We don’t have to hurt her like we did the others,” as he continued to talk to people who were not present, police reported.

The woman convinced Colon not to hurt her and he then drove her to the abandoned house, police said. She was eventually able to escape. She was not hurt.

The woman reported the incident to Pendleton and Kennewick police on Aug. 21, said Kennewick Detective Joe Santoy. Police then verified the woman’s story through text messages on her phone.

The case was assigned to Santoy this week and police used texts on the phone to track down an address for Colon on North Third Street in Pasco, the detective said. Colon was apparently trying to set up a second meeting with the victim.

Pasco and Kennewick police went to the address Thursday and arrested Colon on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment. He was booked into the Benton County jail.

Kennewick police are concerned by statements made by Colon to the victim and police that he may have had similar encounters with other women he met online.

Authorities found evidence he has contacted other women through Craigslist and social media sites, police said. There were also several fake police badges at his home.

Colon told investigators he believes he was trying to help law enforcement by meeting with the woman, Santoy said. He reportedly wanted to preach to her.

Kennewick police want to talk with any person who may have had an encounter with Colon. Possible victims are urged to call police at 509-585-4208.

Tyler Richardson: 509-582-1556; trichardson@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson

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