Hostage situation resolved at a New York motel

August 8, 2016
Jisoo Kim Northwood High School 11th Grade

Jisoo Kim
Northwood High School 11th Grade

A NewYork man in his mid-thirties was accused of holding an elderly vet- eran as a vir- tual captive for years so that he could steal his benefits checks.

On July 20, 2016, an elderly U.S. Marine veteran was found being held as hostage in a cramped, dilapidated room in Highlands, New York. Police sur- rounded the motel room where 35-year-old Perry Coniglio held 86-year-old David McClel- lan captive.

According to Chief Jack Quinn of the High- land Police Department, the veteran received a“ tremendous amount of money” each month in Social Security benefits, pension checks and food stamps.

To Coniglio, McClellan was the perfect victim: he had a lot of money, he had no known friends or relatives, and he was in an advanced stage of dementia. When police asked McClellan how long he thought he had been in the motel room, he said he thought“about four days.” It was more like four years.

According to authorities, Coniglio sold the veteran’ s vehicle and, by acting as his guardian, withdrew his money from the bank. And oddly enough, neighbors noticed the unusual activity for quite some time.

“The guy who was arrested who lived next door, he was giving him just one bowl of cereal a day, he would stick him back in the room with a stick, wasn’ t bathing him, the old guy would just be walking around here naked, just terrible,” a neighbor told ABC news.

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Quinn told a local ABC affiliate that illegals drugs were found in Coniglio’ s motel room.

Since the arrest, the veteran has been taken to a hospital for evaluation and is waiting to be provided with a new home.

Coniglio is currently being held in the Or- ange County Jail on $5,000 cash bail. Charges against him include unlawful imprisonment, menacing, unlawful possession of marijuana, grand larceny and endangering an incompetent person.

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