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Woman sentenced for role in kidnapping and torture of woman in Idaho Falls

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — A judge placed a woman on a rider for her role in the violent kidnapping and torture of another woman in Idaho Falls.

Laura Zamudio, 30, received the sentence Wednesday from District Judge Bruce Pickett after previously pleading guilty to felony accessory to kidnapping and accessory to battery. In June 2020, a woman escaped an Idaho Falls home on Canal Street and told investigators that four people had held her captive and tortured her.

When handing down the sentence, Pickett suspended a one to five year prison sentence that could be served if Zamudio is not successful on the rider program.

A rider program is when a judge sends a person to prison for up to a year to undergo different treatment programs. When the inmate has completed the program, the judge can then decide to send them back to prison or release them on probation.

RELATED | Idaho Falls woman held captive and tortured for days, police say

Prosecutors say Jorge Luis Balderas, 27, Sasha Dee Martinez, 34, Austin Alverado, 24 were all part of the crimes with Zamudio.

The victim told detectives she met Balderas online in January and moved in with him in Burley. At the time, Zamudio, one of Balderas’ ex-girlfriends, also lived with Balderas and the victim. The three moved to Idaho Falls in March into the home of Martinez, she said. Balderas and the victim then broke up, and he began dating Martinez.

Although court documents do not indicate what provoked the torture and the abuse, investigators believe the victim was beaten, tied to a chair, burned with propane torches and even set on fire with lighter fluid.

Zamudio reportedly played less of a role in the crimes than the other co-defendants.

RELATED | Idaho Falls woman sent to prison for the horrific torture of another woman

Martinez was sentenced in July to spend between five and 20 years in prison for her role in the crime.

Alverado previously pleaded guilty to an accessory to aggravated battery charge and is expected to receive his sentence Wednesday.

Court records show Balderas is the only one still facing a jury trial. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, including kidnapping and multiple aggravated battery charges. The jury trial is set to begin in January.

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