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Four People Charged Following Kidnapping, Assault in West Union

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WEST UNION, Iowa The man who police say was kidnapped, beaten and left naked alongside a gravel road near West Union had teeth knocked out and suffered an injury to his spleen, according to court documents.

Four young men have been arrested in connection with the assault last week. He was hospitalized, but has since been released. Police are still searching for a fifth man they say was involved in the attack, 28-year-old Curtis A. Williams.

"I don't have any idea where he might be," West Union Police Chief Jim Davies said Tuesday. "We've looked everywhere we can pick our brains about where he would be."

First-degree kidnapping charges have been filed against Cody L. Caldwell, 22, William J. Newton, 19, Tory A. Gibson, 19, and Tyler J. Williams, 18, all of West Union. Tyler Williams is Curtis Williams' nephew, police said.

According to criminal complaints, five men went to Denni's apartment in the 100 block of East Plum Street in West Union on Nov. 21, pulled him outside and forced him into a white van. Police said Denni was beaten in the back of the van while it was being driven around the area.

When the suspects returned to Denni's apartment, Denni got away, ran into his apartment and closed the door, but one of the suspects forced his way inside and assaulted Denni again inside the apartment, according to court documents. Denni was then taken back into the van.

The assault continued in the van, causing "bruising, swelling, missing teeth and an injury to his spleen," according to court documents.

Police said Denni was taken to a location about four miles northeast of West Union, where he was stripped of his clothes and left along a gravel road. A passer-by found Denni there, near a farmhouse, and called police.

According to court documents, Gibson, Newton and Tyler Williams were interviewed and admitted to participating in the incident.

Police have said Denni and the suspected assailants were acquaintances before the incident. No weapons are believed to have been used in the assault.

Davies, the police chief, declined to comment about a possible motive in the case, but confirmed that the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was assisting with the case.

Curtis Williams is wanted on charges of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary, police said. Anyone with information about the case or Williams' whereabouts is asked to call the West Union Police Department at (563) 422-3535 or the Fayette County Sheriff's Office at (563) 422-6067.

The young men who have been arrested in the case remain in custody at the Fayette County Jail. In all four cases, bond has been set at $500,000.

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