Woman was allegedly kidnapped and beaten by 3 MEN at church — lawyer says it’s a case of mistaken identity

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Three men are facing charges in connection with an alleged kidnapping and assault that police say took place in a St. Louis, Mo., church in late February. 

Pasi Heri, 32, Grace Kipendo, 28, and Mmunga Fungamali, 25, are each facing one charge of second-degree kidnapping and one charge of third-degree assault, according to online court records.

Details of The Crime

According to a probable cause statement obtained by First Alert 4, a woman was discovered in late February ‘bound by ropes and bleeding from the head’ near a St. Louis church.

She told authorities that she was held against her will in a room at the church and was only given water.

When the woman — who has not been publicly identified — was discovered, a bottle of water and ‘a bucket with feces and urine’ was in the room where she said she was held, the probable cause statement alleges.

Victim Impact Statement

She also claimed she was beaten at that location and allegedly identified three men who she said were responsible for her kidnapping and assault. 

First Alert 4 and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch identified the church as Mount of Olives Ministry.

According to The Post-Dispatch, the church is known for helping African refugees settle into the city.

‘It’s unfathomable,’ Arlie Singleton, a pastor at a different St. Louis church, told KSDK. ‘I could have never have never comprehended some allegations like this happening at that church.’

Kipendo’s attorney Chris Combs said that Kipendo and Fungamali are brothers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Describing The Suspects

Kipendo, a U.S. citizen, has been in the U.S. since 2010. Fungamali, who had been in St. Louis for less than two days before the alleged assault, is a Canadian citizen, Combs says. 

Combs says the victim, who previously lived in Kansas City, had mental health issues and was moved to the St. Louis church by her family for ‘the healing of prayer.’

He believes the woman was assaulted, but not by the suspects who have been charged.

According to The Post-Dispatch, the church was condemned after the arrests when St. Louis authorities found people illegally living there. The three suspects did not live at the church.

Kipendo, Fungamali and Heri have pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

What The Lawyer Says

‘I think it’s a misidentification,’ Combs says, further saying that he believes there was also a language barrier and cultural differences that contributed to the arrests. 

He also stated on the night the woman was discovered, an event was taking place at the church with more than 30 people in attendance.

An attorney for Heri was not listed online. The suspects are being held without bond. Kipendo’s preliminary hearing is set for March 27; Fungamali’s is set for March 28; Heri’s is set for April 3. 

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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