3 arrested in Springfield kidnapping; 4th suspect killed in Bennington homicide

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 9:33 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont State Police say one of the four suspects accused of a kidnapping in Springfield is also the same person who turned up dead in Bennington a couple of days later.

According to police, Jesse LaFlam, 49, of Springfield; Christopher Merritt, 40, of Springfield; Zachary Russell, 25, of Bennington; and a fourth man, Patrick Mullinnex, 38, of Springfield, entered a Stanley Road residence in Springfield early Saturday morning and restrained several people inside at gunpoint, including three young children.

Jesse LaFlam, Christopher Merritt and Zachary Russell
Jesse LaFlam, Christopher Merritt and Zachary Russell(Courtesy: Vt. State Police)

Police say the four men then forced Michael Myers, 30, from the apartment-- again at gunpoint-- and took him to a residence on a rural dirt road in Chester where they bound, beat and robbed him of several hundred dollars in cash.

Court papers state Myers was eventually able to escape with the help of other people in the home.

Four days later, Mullinnex, who police say was one of the four kidnappers, was shot to death in a Bennington apartment.

Police are currently looking for Raul Cardona, 28, of Springfield, Massachusetts, in connection with the homicide. They say he is armed and dangerous and may have fled to Massachusetts.

Raul Cardona
Raul Cardona(Courtesy: Bennington Police)

At this time, prosecutors are not commenting on whether one incident led to the other.

The DEA and FBI are involved in the homicide investigation.

In court on Friday, LaFlam and Merritt pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including kidnapping, and are being held without bail.

Russell invoked the 24-hour rule and is due back in court on Monday.

All three men have multiple felony convictions on their records.

We reached out to the Vermont State Police for comment, however, all of our questions were referred to the Windsor County State’s Attorney and Bennington Police.

The investigations into both incidents are still underway.

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Police release identities of Bennington homicide victim, suspect

Man found dead in Bennington apartment; police searching for suspect

Man taken at gunpoint from Springfield residence

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