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Steven Kitchell held woman captive for weeks inside Bethlehem home, police say

Victim beaten, sexually assaulted before she could escape, police say

Police: Man abused, held woman captive for weeks inside home

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - A man kidnapped a woman and held her captive inside a rooming house in Bethlehem for three weeks, beating and sexually assaulting her until she escaped and made her way to a hospital, police said Friday.

Steven Kitchell was apprehended Wednesday in Newark, N.J., where he was jailed pending extradition to Pennsylvania. He was charged with kidnapping, rape, simple assault, false imprisonment and indecent assault.

Kitchell, 34, and the woman, 21, had just become acquainted through a mutual friend when he took her prisoner on May 23 inside the third floor room where he lived at 826 Montclair Ave., police said.   

He shot the woman with a BB gun, and two other women helped maintain control of the victim, according to the criminal complaint.

Kitchell also showed the woman a loaded handgun and allegedly gave her heroin and tried to get her to work as a prostitute, police said.

The woman found the key to the room's deadbolt lock and, on June 15, waited until Kitchell was gone to escape, said police, who interviewed her at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill, Lehigh Co.

"I was shocked when I found out about it because I spoke to him, and it was like nothing was going on," said the building's maintenance man, who didn't want to give his name, adding that Kitchell lived there for three months.

Police searched the home on June 17 and learned that Kitchell had gone to New Jersey, where he was found by U.S. Marshals and Newark police.

The investigation continues, and more arrests are possible, said police.

"We are looking at additional charges with additional victims," said Detective Tom Galloway, Bethlehem Police Dept.


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