Police in Winona, Minn. have arrested two men for allegedly holding a 19-year-old male college student hostage, making him strip naked and threatening him with a meat saw — and with sexual abuse.
The incident occurred in the wee hours of Sunday morning in a sketchy, rundown part of the town of 27,592 — about a mile off the campus of Winona State University.
Police responded to a call at approximately 2:30 a.m. and found the student near the corner of 2nd Street and Vine Street, reports Minneapolis-St. Paul FOX affiliate KMSP.
The unidentified student was naked. Two people were on the scene, covering him with flannel shirts. He was “crying hysterically,” officers said.
The student told police he was walking alone back to his dorm room when two men accosted him and began yelling at him.
The student said the men, identified by police as John Demaske and Abdirhahman Samatar, seized him by the shoulders and forced him to a warehouse building. They made him take off all his clothes and sit on a chair, he said.
Demaske, 45, and Samatar, 34, believed the student had stolen some of their stuff, the student said.
“You don’t know the things we are going to do to you,” one of the two men allegedly said. Also, the student said, the men slapped him and threatened anal rape.
Demaske and Samatar also allegedly prodded the student into a room. They turned on a meat saw. They warned the student “he was going to get cut,” the student told police.
“The victim said one or both threatened to cut his head off,” Winona police department spokesman Tom Williams told local NBC affiliate KTTC. “He thought that was it. He managed to get away, and ran away, and lucky for him a passerby stopped.”
Police later arrested Samatar and Demaske in the vicinity of the warehouse.
Inside the warehouse, police investigators found a meat slicer, a meat grinder, chest freezers, a bunch of knives, and some aprons with blood stains — all the trappings of a basic slaughterhouse.
The cops also found some machetes and what was described as “hardcore pornography,” notes the Post-Bulletin, a newspaper out of Rochester, Minn.
Police also recovered the student’s jeans, boxer shorts and mobile phone at the warehouse. The phone was near the meat saw.
Meanwhile, Samatar and Demaske told police a different story. According to them, they found the student in the warehouse in the wee hours of Sunday morning. They “wanted to scare him,” they said, because they suspected he was a thief.
Late last week, Demaske said he found $400 missing from a bank bag and had suspected Samatar, notes KMSP.
Demaske said he eventually told the naked student to leave. He said the student fled without getting dressed.
In any case, the hostage situation appears to have lasted about 30 minutes. The student was not injured.
Police arrested Samatar and Demaske on a raft of charges including assault with a dangerous weapon, false imprisonment and making terroristic threats.
A judge set bond for $35,000 for Samatar and $25,000 for Demaske. It’s not clear if either man has made bail.