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Woman sent to prison for the violent kidnapping and beating of another woman

Crime Watch

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Maddeline McKenzie Ovard | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls woman is going to prison for violently kidnapping and beating a woman, forcing her to strip off her clothes and then leaving her in a rural area.

Maddeline McKenzie Ovard, 31, received a three- to 23-year prison sentence Tuesday. Previously, Ovard pleaded guilty to felony charges of second-degree kidnapping, grand theft, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of battery.

As part of a plea agreement made with Bonneville County, prosecutors reduced a first-degree kidnapping charge to second-degree kidnapping, amended robbery to grand theft and removed a second misdemeanor count of battery. Additionally, prosecutors dismissed three other criminal cases Ovard faced in Bonneville County.

Police reports show in March 2020, authorities found a unclothed woman in Wolverine Canyon in Bingham County following the reported abduction. The severely injured woman pointed Idaho Falls Police Department investigators to Ovard and her alleged accomplice, 38-year-old Tabatha McKnight.

The victim told police the night before they found her Ovard, McKnight and another woman attacked her at a home on Burlwood Drive in Idaho Falls. Ovard reportedly used a socket wrench and brass knuckles to repeatedly hit the woman before taking $400 in cash, keys and a cellphone.

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A friend of the victim witnessed part of the alleged attack before the victim was shoved into her own 2007 White Ford Explorer. With a blindfold on, the attackers drove the victim to an unknown location, where they continued to beat her with brass knuckles, according to a police report.

Police wrote the attack lasted a couple of hours and the victim said Ovard threatened to slit her throat while McKnight threatened to shoot her. While the victim did not see any weapons, she knew the women had access to them.

Sometime during the attack, a friend of the victim received Facebook messages from the victim, who was bound with her head covered at an unknown location. In a video, the victim reportedly argued with McKnight about sleeping with a man. The friend called police the next morning to report the messages.

At some point, the attackers stopped and loaded the victim into another car before driving her to the canyon in Bingham County. Ovard and McKnight then allegedly had the victim strip and sit on a rock until they left.

The attack left the victim with a fractured skull, but she refused treatment at the hospital.

Investigators arrested both Ovard and McKnight. It’s not exactly clear who the third female attacker was, or what happened to her.

In addition to the time in prison, court records show District Judge Dane Watkins ordered Ovard to pay $1,000 fines on each of her felony counts.

McKnight is scheduled for a jury trial on Sept. 13. She has pleaded not guilty to felony first-degree kidnapping, grand theft aggravated battery, and misdemeanors of assault and battery.