ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Two University of Rochester students held hostage for 40 hours this weekend were, according to court paperwork, beaten with fists, clubs and other objects.
Six people arrested in connection with the abduction of seniors Ani Okeke Ewo and Nicholas Kollias were arraigned Tuesday morning in Rochester City Court. All six pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges.
District Attorney Sandra Doorley says the case will be presented to a grand jury. She says at this point, details of the crime are not being released.
"In light of the complex and ongoing nature of this investigation, the Rochester Police Department, the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office and the University of Rochester must, at this time, refrain from discussing the facts and circumstances surrounding the abduction of the two students," said Doorley in a statement.
Police say Ewo and Kollias disappeared from campus under suspicious circumstances to then be held against their will at gunpoint in a home on Harvest Street. Court paperwork says Kollias was shot in the leg with a .22-caliber rifle, and robbed of money and credit cards.
Police surrounded the house on Rochester's northeast side and Sunday night, a SWAT team stormed in and rescued Ewo and Kollias.
Lydell Strickland, 26, Samantha Hughes, 19, of Pittsford, Dennis Perez, 23, and Leah Gigliotti, 20, are charged with first-degree kidnapping. Inalia Rolldan and Ruth Lora, both 19, are charged with second-degree kidnapping.
All six are expected to be back in court later this week. Of the six people arrested, all but one is a city resident.
According to court documents, all played varying roles in the abduction, beatings and shooting. At one point on Harvest Street, Rolldan was left alone to guard the hostages while Lora helped feed them. When Lora was arrested, a driver's license belonging to Kollias was found inside her backpack.
Lora's father, Valentin Lora, tells Time Warner Cable News off camera that his daughter was simply in the wrong place in the wrong time. He said she is a good student at Finger Lakes Community College. He also said he does not believe she knew most of the other defendants in the abductions.
According to the Department of Corrections, Strickland previously served time for attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He completed parole in October.
Police remained outside the Harvest Street house for a third straight day, and while a possible motive for the abduction has not been made clear, police said they will be making that public soon.
"Twenty-three years doing this job, I mean it was, I can only imagine if it was one of my children," said Deputy Chief Scott Peters.
"You see a lot of activity running in and out of that house," said Karen Baumbarger, a neighbor. "I didn't know if anybody lived in that house. You see a lot of different faces, and everything else but I'm not the person who likes to call the cops and say hey, something's going on in that house."
Peters said that, if not for the quick action of SWAT team members and others, plus tips from the community, the situation could have turned out a whole lot worse.
"This is a very unusual case. I mean, we're talking some serious charges here," Peters said.
"Good police work is what led them to the victims in the case. I'm not going to get more specific than that,” said prosecutor Matthew Schwartz.
The University of Rochester released a statement on Tuesday morning's arraignments:
"The University of Rochester is grateful to the Rochester Police Department for the sustained efforts that led to the swift arrests and charges in the abduction of our two students. Our focus as a university is on our two students as they recover from their ordeal. We continue to believe this was an isolated incident and wish to stress that our campus is safe."
Ewo had volunteered at Camp Good Days and Special Times over the past four years, including lending his time to a program known as PAVE, or Partners Against Violence Everywhere.
"He is always an individual that you can count on. He would find out what we needed him to do, without any further questions, he would just do it," said James McCauley of Camp Good Days, "so very impressed with him, that irreplaceable smile of his."
Ewo and several other members of the U of R football team, of which he and Kollias were a part of, volunteer at Camp Good Days.