• 'Unlike anything I've ever seen': Springfield bodies identified as missing women


    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A not guilty plea was entered Monday on behalf of 40-year-old Stewart Weldon, of Springfield, who didn't speak.

    A prosecutor told the judge the kidnapping and assault to rape charges were unrelated to the kidnapping charge Weldon faces in connection with his arrest May 27.

    A defense attorney waived a reading of the charges and requested the new case be impounded, which was granted. Bail was set at $1 million, which is on top of the $1 million bail set in the initial kidnapping case.

    The defense said Weldon looks forward to addressing these charges in the future.

    The new charges involve a separate victim, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said in a news conference Monday afternoon.

    No one has been charged in connection with the discovery of the bodies, which were identified Monday afternoon. 

    The three victims were women of varying ages. They were identified as Ernestine Ryans, 47, America Lyden, 34, and Kayla Escalante, 27. 

    Ernestine Ryans, one of the Springfield residents whose body, along with other two women, was found inside 40-year-old Stewart Weldon's home.

    Ryans, pictured above, and Lyden were both residents of Springfield, but Escalante, pictured below, was a Ludlow resident, the DA's office said. 

    Kayla Escalante, 27, is one of the victims identified after three bodies were found inside a Springfield home.

    Lyden's cousin, Angie Rodriguez, was shocked at the discovery.

    "We had high hopes that she would be okay," Rodriguez said. "She had tons of life left within her that was robbed from her. We don't know who, what, where or how, but we do know it was a gruesome cold act, and no one knows what she felt."

    Gullini expressed how rare the whole situation is as police continue to investigate the suspect's home.

    "We'll be on Page Boulevard for many days to come," Gulluni said Monday. "It's unlike anything I've ever seen." 

    The state's medical examiner has not released a cause of death for the three women, but Gulluni said the nature of the deaths were 'suspicious'.

    "What we know right now is that two of the three women had been the subject of missing persons reports," Gulluni said. 

    The district attorney could not say how long the women had been missing.

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