POINSETT COUNTY, Ark. — Two Poinsett County men are behind bars for allegedly kidnapping two women and a child and holding them against their will.
The Poinsett County Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant Friday afternoon in the 7400 block of Tate Lane outside of Harrisburg after a woman reported she had been held captive at the home for approximately three days by 41-year-old Leonel Cruz.
Police say Cruz used physical force, death threats and the victim's one-year-old daughter as collateral so that she wouldn't leave. The victim said she lived at the home for about a year and threatened to leave due to consistent abuse at his hands. Instead, he refused to let her leave, and she was able to show bruises around her arm, thighs, and knees.
She says Cruz also told her she would be killed if she ever tried to leave. The victim was able to escape Wednesday, Feb. 7 after she told a cashier at a grocery store that she was being held captive by Cruz, who was using her daughter as damage.
Further investigation identified a second victim from a similar incident. She says she was forced to stay at the home by Victor Fleming, the son of the home owner since September 25. The victim says Fleming was very controlling, and she couldn't leave the house without being with him.
Police say whenever one of the victim's tried to leave, they were chased down by Cruz and Fleming and would be dragged by their hair. They were also instructed to keep their eyes and head lowered when they left the house so that they wouldn't have any contact with other people.
This contradicts a conversation Fleming's aunt said she had with the woman last week.
"I asked her if she wanted to leave and she said no. She said, ‘I have nowhere to go. I love Victor,'" said Felicia Wade.
"These women need to face reality. They wanted to be with black mens, they family did not like them being with black mens, and the truth is gonna come out," she added.
Wade thinks Fleming's girlfriend might have made up the allegations because he broke up with her.
"People chunk up everything they want to chunk up when they get mad. He broke up with her. He posted pictures of a new girlfriend. I believe that’s what made her upset," she said.
Three men were found in the house by deputies.
Liquid Morphine, Versed and various paraphernalia was used to ingest methamphetamine.
Cruz has been charged with two counts of kidnapping, terroristic threats, threatening and endangering the welfare of a minor possession of a controlled and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Flemming has been charged with two counts of kidnapping and terroristic threatening in the first degree.
All are felonies.
Cruz also has active warrants for endangering the welfare of a minor out of Pottawatomie County, Kansas.
Other charges are expected to be filed.