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Police: Woman kidnapped, tortured in Arnold

Chuck Biedka
| Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, 6:27 p.m.
Michael Battaglia, Devon Hamilton and Stephanie Unruh
Westmoreland County Prison
Michael Battaglia, Devon Hamilton and Stephanie Unruh

A man and two women kidnapped a woman Saturday night and tortured her in a basement on 16th Street in Arnold, until she was left alone and escaped on Sunday, Arnold police said.

Michael Joseph Battaglia, 41, of 16th Street, Arnold; Stephanie Renee Unruh, 30, of Victoria Avenue, New Kensington, and Devon Hamilton, 25, of Clay Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, are accused of kidnapping to inflict injury or terror and aggravated assault.

The three were arraigned Monday afternoon by District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr.

Pallone ordered the three held in the Westmoreland County Prison, each in lieu of $50,000 bond, pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 21. The three told Pallone that nothing happened.

Police said the victim was with the three people at the 16th Street house late Saturday and argued with them.

According to arrest papers, the three "stripped her of her clothes and dragged her downstairs to the basement."

She allegedly was tied to a post and repeatedly punched in the head and face by Battaglia, and the three also struck her in the head with a broom handle.

The victim told police the three left, and she was able to untie herself and hide in the basement briefly until they came back and found her, only to tie her up with a rope around her neck, torso, arms and legs.

The woman said Hamilton used a lit cigarette to burn her chest.

According to police, the three again left the woman alone and she fell asleep. On Sunday morning, the woman was able to get free and run to a neighbor's house, police said.

The woman was taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital for treatment. Police arrested the three on Sunday.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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