What to Know
- Police officers were searching for two individuals in a deli in the Bronx when they found a man tied up in the store's basement
- The kidnapping victim, who wasn't identified, said he was held for three days and beaten in the head and torso
- One person has been arrested and police are searching for a store employee who's wanted for questioning
Police on Wednesday stumbled upon a shocking discovery while chasing two people into a New York City deli: A man who said he had been beaten and tied up for three days in the shop's basement.
Officers were going after two people who ran into the bodega at 1724 Bussing Avenue, when an employee at the store gave them access to the basement area. That's when they found a 49-year-old man who said he was being held against his will since Sept. 7 when four "known individuals" grabbed him a couple of blocks away on White Plains Road and forced him into a dark colored sedan, according to police.
The store employee who let the officers into the basement took off right as police made the discovery, and is currently wanted for questioning. He has been identified as 35-year-old Richard Millwood. Two other men are also being sought by police but no information on them was immediately available.
One woman, the owner of the deli, has been arrested in connection to the crime. Orinthia Gifford, 49, was charged with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, Criminal Possession of a Weapon, menacing and harassment. It is unclear if she has legal representation or what her motives were behind the kidnapping.
Gifford had on her a key that unlocked the trapdoor leading to the basement.
In a criminal complaint released Thursday evening, gruesome details about what happened in that basement showed the abuse the victim went through over the course of three days.
The man, who was not identified, told police that two men who were keeping him in the basement used a variety of weapons to intimidate and injure him. He described a kitchen knife one of the men would use to slap against his left cheek, and a machete that the other man would carry around.
One of the suspects used the barrel of a long rifle to pound into the victim's chest, then used the gun to beat his arms and legs, the complaint against Gifford read. The same man had a handgun that he shoved into the victim's mouth, telling him "This is a nine millimeter. I can blow your head off right now." He also threatened to rape and kill his family, stating that he has killed people before in Jamaica, according to the criminal complaint.
One of the men suggested they burn the victim, while handing over a lighter which was then lit and held up to the victim's face, nose and ear. The other man forced the victim to lick the bottom of his shoe before kicking him in the face and forcing him to eat paper, the complaint states.
The kidnapping victim refused medical attention from EMS after he was rescued, police said.
Anyone with information in regard to the identity of this male is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).