Olivia Ambrose was at Hennessy’s bar near Boston’s Faneuil Hall with friends and her twin sister, Franny, on Saturday night. They were there to see a band.
“We were all here,” Franny told WBZ. “We were just dancing in front of the band and then somewhere, just like around 10 p.m., I don’t know, I guess we got separated and then she left at 11.”
On Sunday, after failing to reach her, Ambrose’s family filed a missing person report. And on Tuesday, after an “extensive investigation,” Boston police said they found Ambrose in 38-year-old Victor Pena’s Charlestown apartment at 49 Walford Way. Officers apprehended Pena at the scene, and he is being charged with kidnapping, Police Commissioner William Gross said at a Tuesday evening press conference.
“Today is a good day,” Gross said. “Ms. Ambrose was found alive.”
“Generally if she’s not doing anything on the weekends she’ll FaceTime me even though we live in the same city,” she said. “But yeah, we’ll just sit on FaceTime and won’t even really be talking, we’ll be watching our own Netflix shows or something … we just keep in contact.”
According to WCVB, Franny went to Ambrose’s Jamaica Plain apartment. She had recently moved there from her hometown of Wenham.
“I went to her apartment, and she hadn’t been there,” she said. “It was set up for her to come home, with pajamas on the bed and everything.”
After the missing person report was filed, police started to piece together a timeline based on surveillance videos:
At 11:04 p.m. on Saturday, Ambrose leaves Hennessy’s, at 25 Union St., with a male who “was later identified and eliminated as a suspect,” according to Gross.
At 11:42 p.m., two males, one of whom is later identified as Pena, invite Ambrose to “walk with them” near Congress and State streets. “Twice, Pena was observed engaging Ms. Ambrose on Congress Street — to the point where, at certain points, he was physically guiding and holding on to her,” Gross said.
“It’s obvious from the video surveillance that she did not go along willingly,” he added.
Pena allegedly directed Ambrose toward the State Street MBTA station.
Police have not identified the other male, who could be a suspect or a witness, according to Gross. “Only Pena had his arms around [Ambrose],” he said.
At 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Pena is spotted with his arm still around Ambrose at the Community College MBTA station in Charlestown, according to police.
At 12:13 a.m., Pena and Ambrose are seen near the Bunker Hill Mall, Green Street, and then headed toward the Bunker Hill Housing Development, Gross said.
“A short time later, phone records indicate Ms. Ambrose’s phone was in the general area of the Bunker Hill Housing Development,” according to police.
What happened next
According to Gross, “throughout (Monday) night, fields were searched, the grounds of high schools, the buildings, even dumpsters.”
Boston police worked with transit police and housing police, he said.
“Eventually the investigation led us to 49 Walford Way,” Gross said.
On Tuesday, police knocked on Pena’s door, and, eventually, he opened it, Gross said. Ambrose was standing in the apartment near Pena, and police then separated the two and took Pena into custody, according to the commissioner.
Ambrose was transported to a local hospital where she was under evaluation Tuesday evening.
“She appears in good health,” Gross said. “But, as for state of mind, I cannot attest to what state of mind.”
He said officers didn’t see any weapons at Pena’s apartment, but police are still actively investigating the case. Pena is expected to be arraigned on the kidnapping charge Wednesday in Charlestown Municipal Court.
UPDATE: Victor Pena, 38, of Boston has been arrested and charged with Kidnapping in connection to the disappearance of 23-yr-old Olivia Ambrose who was located earlier today. Pena is scheduled to be arraigned in Charlestown District Court tomorrow, Wednesday, January 23, 2019. pic.twitter.com/7PIDJGaJ5H
A couple hours prior to locating Ambrose, police released photos of Pena, who had not been identified at the time and was referred to as a “person of interest.”
UPDATE: #BPD release images of person of interest in relation to Missing Person Olivia Ambrose. Anyone with info relative to this person’s ID is asked to call detectives at (617) 343-4248, CrimeStoppers at 1(800) 494-TIPS or text ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463). https://t.co/h8CHmPidWapic.twitter.com/SB1DLj5mRO
Gross thanked the public — and the Ambrose family — for its assistance Tuesday evening. However, it remains unclear what exactly led police to Pena’s apartment.
“You never gave up on your sister, your daughter, your loved one,” Gross said of Ambrose’s family. “And the people of Boston never gave up either, as not only did they send us every tip possible, that we had to vet, but words of comfort and support.”
What the Ambrose family is saying
After Ambrose was found, her family released the following statement through a spokeswoman, Gina Addis, to various media outlets:
“The Ambrose family is so grateful for the monumental efforts of the Boston Police Department and the MBTA and Transit police who have worked tirelessly over the last three days to bring Olivia home. They also want to thank all of the staff at [Hennessy’s] Bar who have been so helpful since Olivia went missing. The Ambrose family is also so appreciative of all the efforts, prayers and good wishes of their friends, family and complete strangers who have helped in the efforts to find Olivia. And finally, they want to thank Olivia’s co-workers at Toast who sprang into action and were instrumental in getting the word out. The family is overjoyed.”
Ambrose, a University of Edinburgh graduate, works at Toast, a software company in Boston.
What else do we know?
An unnamed official told The Boston Globe that Pena has had multiple run-ins with MBTA Transit Police over the last decade, two of which allegedly involved “menacing interactions” with women. According to the Globe, neighbors also described unsettling behavior by Pena involving women and girls.
An unnamed city official told the newspaper that Pena is on Social Security disability but does not have a physical disability.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Gross stressed that the investigation remains active and urged community members to continue to contact police with information by calling 1-800-494-TIPS. He said police still needed to interview Ambrose and had not yet determined a motive.