SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A third woman has come forward to say she was held prisoner for more than a year in the 1990s by a retired handyman who built a concrete dungeon under his yard, police said.
The woman, who was 13- or 14-year-old runaway at the time, picked John T. Jamelske out of a series of photos, Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh said.
She also provided details of her ordeal and an accurate description of the secret two-room bunker, which Jamelske, now 67, built in the late 1980s and later connected to his basement in DeWitt, Walsh said.
Jamelske was charged last week with kidnapping, imprisoning and raping a 16-year-old girl police say he kept captive for six months. The girl had managed to secretly make a phone call while she was with him at a business last week and was in Jamelske's car when he was arrested, police said.
After the arrest, a 28-year-old woman told police she had been held captive for about two months before she was blindfolded, driven to another location and released. A grand jury will review evidence in that case and determine if charges should be filed, Sgt. John D'Eridita said Wednesday.
Jamelske is being held without bail and has not yet entered a plea in the case of the 16-year-old.
"There is another side to the story and that will come out at the appropriate time," said his attorney, J. Michale Forsyth.
Forsyth told the Post-Standard of Syracuse the underground rooms could have been designed as a bomb shelter during the 1980s because of fears over nuclear war. He wouldn't say whether his client has expressed such safety concerns.
Police began seeking out other possible victims after finding photographs of other women at Jamelske's house. At least one appeared to be chained in the underground vault.
D'Eridita said police had interviewed a possible fourth victim who said she was imprisoned for more than two years in the late 1980s.
The first two victims didn't report their imprisonment to authorities because Jamelske threatened to kill their relatives, Walsh said.
He said the FBI has offered support to local police in the investigation. Jamelske has owned property out of state, he said.
Jamelske's only prior brush with the law involved an arrest for burglary in 1975, in which he pleaded guilty to a trespassing charge, D'Eridita said.