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Woman reported being kidnapped and held in Upper Lake area

Three men were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and robbing a woman after threatening to kill her, the Lake County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.

They were arrested Tuesday in connection with the Dec. 12 kidnapping in the Upper Lake area, in which the woman reported her vehicle was blocked by the men's vehicle and they pulled her out of the driver's seat.

She was driven to a remote property and threatened, according to Lt. Steve Brooks.

The trio showed the victim a hole in the ground and threatened to put her in it, then "placed her fingers into a pair of pliers and threatened to cut her fingers off," Brooks stated.

They accused her of stealing marijuana worth $150,000.

After more than seven hours of keeping her and threatening gang rape, they drove her home and took a large amount of cash from her, Brooks said.

A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of three kidnapping suspects, including Charles Vasil Statler, 53, of Santa Rosa, who was already in custody at the Lake County Hill Road correctional facility.

He was being held on a parole violation stemming from a murder conviction, which occurred in Lake County in 1997. The sheriff's office provided no further detail on the homicide case.

Statler's bail was set at $1 million.

Also arrested in connection with the kidnapping were James Daniel Austin, 41, and Ricky Lane McCullough, 58, both of Clearlake Oaks.

Both had bail set at $300,000.


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