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Brittany Lawonn, Published April 28 2009

Police say West Fargo kidnap victim left Fargo willingly

A 19-year-old West Fargo woman who told Yakima, Wash., police Saturday a man kidnapped her had left the Fargo area willingly at first, police said Monday.

Something changed along the way and the woman feared that if she tried to leave she would be in danger, so she called police, officials said.

Raul Valencia-Citrian, 27, is being held on charges of second-degree kidnapping and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

The two met at a Fargo party and stayed in hotels in Fargo on Thursday and in Bismarck on Friday. She told him she wanted to go home, but he said they were going to Mexico and drove to Yakima, which is 15 miles from his hometown of Naches, police said.

“We believe he had actually stopped in Yakima to talk to some of his associates in the cocaine-trafficking business,” said Yakima Capt. Greg Copeland.

When the man left the woman alone for about five hours after checking into a Motel 6, she called her mother in West Fargo. Her mother suggested she call the police.

“As we were talking to her, this fellow showed up and the officer saw that he had some cocaine on his pocket,” Copeland said.

Authorities arrested Valencia-Citrian about 2 p.m. Saturday, Copeland said.

The unidentified woman was frightened, but unhurt. She plans to return home, he said.

Valencia-Citrian is not accused of having used restraints to keep the woman with him, but is charged with kidnapping because the woman feared she would be in danger if she tried to leave, Copeland said.

The act of kidnapping did not develop in Fargo or West Fargo, but while the two were en route to Washington, he said.

Local police did not receive missing person reports related to the case and are not assisting with the investigation, said Fargo Sgt. Mark Lykken and Assistant West Fargo Chief Mike Reitan.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541