Two Idaho women were arrested in a twisted kidnapping plot that allegedly targeted a love rival of one of the suspects, court records reveal.
Maddeline McKenzie Ovard, 29, and Tabatha Gigi McKnight, 37, are charged with robbery, first-degree kidnapping, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in connection to the March 24 attack on a 32-year-old woman.
Police say the alleged kidnappers, who live in Idaho Falls, pummeled the victim with brass knuckles and abducted her before they abandoned her hours later in the Wolverine Canyon recreational area in Bingham County.
The victim, identified in court documents as Chelsi Urias, was sitting in a friend’s garage around 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday night when Ovard, McKnight and a third unknown woman arrived. All three were wearing masks.
According to a probable cause affidavit reviewed by The Daily Beast, Ovard hit Urias in the face with a socket wrench and struck her with brass knuckles. She then allegedly stole $400 from Urias, along with her keys and her cellphone.
The homeowner of the first residence told police that a “blonde girl” and two masked individuals came into his garage. One of those women was referred to as “Tabby,” he said. When police searched the garage, they discovered blood on the floor close to where Urias was sitting, the affidavit states.
The victim told the Post Register, a newspaper in Idaho Falls, that Ovard and McKnight believed she was in a relationship with Ovard’s ex-boyfriend.
Attorneys for McKnight and Ovard did not return messages left for comment, nor did a spokeswoman for the Idaho Falls Police Department.
The affidavit lays out how McKnight and Ovard allegedly battered Urias and hurled threats on her life, but it’s unclear what role the third unidentified woman played or whether she'll face charges, too.
After the beating in the garage, the trio cleared out Urias’s vehicle, pushed her inside and blindfolded her, the affidavit states. The women then allegedly drove Urias to an unknown second residence.
While en route to the second location, a woman believed to be McKnight allegedly tried to use a Taser on Urias’s neck, but the weapon malfunctioned. Once they arrived, McKnight and Ovard beat Urias again in a downstairs area, and Ovard warned she’d “slice [her] throat” and McKnight threatened to “shoot her,” the affidavit alleges.
“Chelsi said that she didn’t see any knives or guns on them, but that she knew that both Maddeline and Tabatha had access to those weapons and she feared that they were going to kill her and that she would never see her kids again,” the document states.
Urias told police she feared for her life, and that the alleged captors kept her at the second location and beat her for a couple hours. They cleaned her up and used another vehicle to drive her to the Wolverine Canyon area. The alleged captors told Urias that “if she cooperated she would be ok,” the affidavit says.
Authorities say they learned of the abduction in the early hours of March 25 through a friend of Urias, who told police he received videos of the victim via Facebook Messenger.
In the videos, Urias is bound and her face is covered, and “she argues with ‘Tabatha’ about sleeping with ‘Javier,’” the court filing states. The friend told cops that he received the footage around 9:30 p.m. on March 24.
The friend also said he saw Urias’s vehicle being driven by someone else around this time, and that he attempted to follow the car but lost it.
The victim told the Post Register she was outside for nearly four hours before deputies with the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office found her. She was transported to the hospital and treated for injuries including a skull fracture and bleeding in the brain.
According to the newspaper, the victim had two black eyes, multiple bruises and has experienced dizziness and loss of vision since the disturbing assault. Ovard and McKnight also allegedly shaved the victim’s head.
A preliminary hearing for McKnight is scheduled on April 22. Ovard is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 17.
Both women were issued no-contact orders with the victim.