Falls kidnapping suspect pleads not guilty; Deputy U.S. Marshal describes manhunt

Local News

The man accused of raping a woman and chaining her up in his Niagara Falls basement has pleaded not guilty. Michael Ciskiewic, 25, was in a courtroom for his arraignment on Tuesday afternoon.

He is facing several charges, including rape and kidnapping, in connection with an incident that led to a 12-hour standoff on Monroe Ave. in Niagara Falls on Sunday. A judge did not set bail in his case, so he was sent to the Niagara County Jail in Lockport. An order of protection has been issued for the victim.

“I will do everything I can to make sure Michael Ciskiewic is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek said after the hearing.

Dominic Saraceno, Ciskiewic’s attorney, said the suspect was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“The mental health community has left it up to police and prison guards to deal with people who suffer from mental health,” Saraceno said. “Quite frankly, police officers and prison guards aren’t equipped to help people who suffer from mental health illness.”

Saraceno would not say whether Ciskiewic was on any medication at the time of the incident.

Police say the kidnapping happened early Sunday morning. Ciskiewic is accused of grabbing the woman from her home and dragging her into his basement. A bloodhound was used to follow a blood trail and so investigators could find the woman. After they got her out of the house, a standoff began, with police unsure where Ciskiewic was.

The New York-New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force was called in on Monday.

“What we saw led us to believe that he was probably in this general vicinity right here,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Jim Bona said, referring to Buffalo Ave. near 24th St. That’s where Ciskiewic was found Monday night.

Bona couldn’t speak specifically about what led the task force to that area. But he says they generally use a number of tactics.

“We use a lot of different manners in which we research where people might be,” he said. “We interview people. We do surveillance. Sometimes, we might have to go get search warrants.”

Ciskiewic waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the case. It is unclear when he will be back in court.

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