PETALUMA, CA – Two people visiting from Sweden were ambushed and held hostage while waiting in a car for their friend outside a Petaluma hotel, police said.
The incident was reported at 10:15 a.m. Thursday; Petaluma officers were dispatched to a report of two people found bleeding inside a car at the Best Western Hotel, 200 S. McDowell Blvd.
When officers responded to the hotel, three people ran toward them from a parked car. Two of the people were bleeding profusely from their faces, Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said.
Officers arrested all three and tried to determine what happened. The police established that two of the people were victims.
The victims told police they were at the hotel to pick up a friend who was staying in one of the rooms. As they sat in their car, a man parked his car behind theirs, preventing them from moving.
The man, later identified as Kyler Udell, a 27-year-old Fairfield man, approached them and accused them of coming from his hotel room, Lyons said.
Udell then entered their car and struck both victims, knocking one unconscious and breaking the other’s nose, the lieutenant said.
“It appears that suspect Udell may have held both victims inside their vehicle for nearly an hour while he assaulted them, took their cell phones and demanded they open the contents of their phones to him,” Lyons said.
A hotel employee checking the parking lot saw the victims and called 911.
Police determined that the victims were visiting from Sweden and did not know Udell.
– Suspect Udell, who appeared to be delusional and possibly under the influence of drugs, accused the victims of coming from his room, where an unknown woman was staying, says Lyons. “He also stated that people were drugging him.”
Udell was arrested on suspicion of robbery, false imprisonment and assault resulting in serious injury.
Both victims were treated at Petaluma Valley Hospital.
Police eventually tracked down the victims’ friend, who verified their version of events.
Udell was booked into the Sonoma County Main Jail for adults. He remained in custody Friday with his bond set at $250,000, jail records showed.
“The police department would like to thank the hotel staff for carefully checking suspicious vehicles in their parking lot and immediately notifying the police of the incident,” Lyons said.