By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Thursday, November 13, 2014
The list of bizarre evidence and alleged victims of a truck driver charged with kidnapping and abusing women is growing.
Timothy Jay Vafeades, 54, of Salt Lake City, was arrested in Minnesota in November 2013 after an alert law enforcement officer at a weigh station realized a 19-year-old woman in Vafeades’ truck had a protection order against Vafeades from 1999.
The arrest sparked an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the discovery of five other victims to come forward.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, six victims each reported similar stories of being kidnapped by Vafeades, who allegedly took their cell phones and personal identification, and prevented them from looking at other people.
The driver reportedly used a hand-held Dremel power tool to grind teeth down from three of the victims, and used an X-acto knife to help one add false teeth. Vafeades himself wore false vampire fangs and several bracelets he called “slave bracelets,” which he allegedly used to hit victims.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that he cut and dyed the victims’ hair and assaulted them. Some victims were allegedly forced into his truck, named the “Twilight Express” after his Twilight Express Trucking company. Several victims reported being sexually assaulted nearly every day. Vafeades married one victim, though authorities haven’t said whether the marriage was forced.
Law enforcement officers found several images of child pornography from computers in his truck.
Vafeades reportedly faces charges in U.S. District Court in Utah for kidnapping, transportation for illegal sexual assault, transportation of child pornography, and possession of child pornography. Those charges are tied to the original six women who accused him following his arrest in Minnesota. Vafeades is accused of committing those crimes between 1994 and 2013, the Tribune reported.
Prosecutors haven’t filed charges related to the new victims, but recently presented evidence about them in an effort to show Vafeades’ intent. Vafeades is slated to appear in court in December during a hearing to determine if evidence filed against him should be thrown out. Vafeades’ attorney has claimed the driver was unlawfully detained by Minnesota because state troopers had no reason to pull him over, the Tribune reported.
Vafeades was convicted of numerous domestic assault charges in the 1980s and 1990s, including one such case out of Iowa as recently as 2012.
Vafeades is wanted in Florida on two counts of domestic battery, the Miami Herald reported after his arrest.
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