Washington man faces kidnapping, other charges

Written by Jayson Jacoby December 30, 2013 08:35 am

By Jayson Jacoby

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A Moses Lake, Wash., man is in the Baker County Jail, accused of kidnapping and several other crimes after he allegedly forced his girlfriend to drive with him to Las Vegas to get married.

Thomas Martin Pfeiffer, 22, was arrested about 6:30 a.m. Friday in the parking lot at the Baker Truck Corral, 515 Campbell St., Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner said.

Pfeiffer is charged with kidnapping, menacing, coercion, fourth-degree assault, harassment and unlawful use of a weapon.

Bail was set at $155,500.

The incident started Thursday night when Pfeiffer and his girlfriend, Virginia Valdez, 23, left Moses Lake.

The couple were traveling with their 22-month-old daughter, Ava Valdez, Lohner said.

Virginia Valdez told police that Pfeiffer told her they were going to Las Vegas to be married.

Valdez didn’t want to make the trip, but she told police that Pfeiffer refused to let her leave the car and threatened her with a knife.

They stopped once during the night between Moses Lake and Baker City, but as there were few people around Valdez didn’t feel safe trying to get away, Lohner said.

The situation was different at the Truck Corral Friday morning, though.

Lohner said Valdez got out of the car near the gas pumps, lay on the ground and yelled for help.

Her screams attracted attention and someone called police, Lohner said.

Second-degree kidnapping is a Measure 11 crime in Oregon, which means a person convicted of the charge would spend at least five years and 10 months in prison, although the judge has the discretion to waive that required sentence.