Police: Kidnapping ends with suspect punched, arrested

Police: Kidnapping ends with suspect punched, arrested
Jeramey Ortega, 29 of Halsey

EUGENE, Ore. -- Two men were kidnapped and ordered to drive around Eugene at gunpoint early Saturday morning, after a man armed with a pistol hid in the backseat of their unlocked car, Eugene Police said.

Officials reported that one of the men eventually overpowered his captor and forced him out of the vehicle.

Police later arrested Jeramey Ortega, 27 of Halsey, and charged him for his involvement in the kidnapping. The two men involved were unharmed.

Police said that the incident started at around 2:30 Saturday morning when two men got into their car parked on Villard Street, leaving to pick up a friend. Ortega was hiding in the back seat of the car.

Eugene Police Lieutenant Doug Mozan said that Ortega surprised the men and threatened them with a gun shortly after they got inside the car.

Ortega ordered the driver to find a gas station to fill up the vehicle, however all the nearby gas stations were closed. 

At some point the driver stopped at a convenience store, where one of the hostages escaped and called police.

Lt. Mozan said that while the man was describing what had happened over the phone to officers, Eugene Police dispatch said they received a second call from the driver of the car.

The driver told police that he overpowered his captor after stopping at a shopping center along Coburg Road.

"In a sudden turn of events the second victim got the upper hand and was able to punch the suspect, striking Mr. Ortega what he said was at least 20 times," Lt. Mozan told KVAL News.

The man told police that he stopped the car at a shopping center on Coburg Road and his captor became distracted, giving him the chance to attack. 

Ortega then got out of the car and ran. Officers and a K-9 unit searched the area near the shopping center but were unable to find the suspect. 

A short time later (around 6 a.m.) police got a call about a man sleeping in a car on Centennial Loop. The investigating officer found that the man asleep inside the vehicle matched the suspect description given for in the kidnapping incident.

Officers identified the man as Jeramey Ortega and arrested him for a parole violation and open warrants in two other jurisdictions.

Eugene Police later charged Ortega with first degree kidnapping, second degree robbery, and unlawful entry of a vehicle, adding that he may face more charges as the investigation continues.