Boston police have released two photos they say is of a person of interest in the mysterious disappearance of Olivia Ambrose, a 23-year-old project manager for Toast Inc. who vanished after a night out with friends.
On the afternoon of January 22, 2019, Boston police revealed that Ambrose was found alive. In a news conference, they accused a man named Victor Pena of abducting her.
The police commissioner says it’s not clear what the motive was for the abduction but stated that Ambrose went “unwillingly.” He alleged that surveillance video captured the movements of Pena and Ambrose throughout the city and described Pena as clutching on to and guiding Ambrose. Ambrose was later found standing inside Pena’s apartment, the commissioner said, adding that authorities are still trying to determine whether Pena was in the bar that night.
“UPDATE: 23-year-old Olivia Ambrose has been located and transported to an area hospital for evaluation purposes,” Boston police reported. “Thank you to everybody who aided, helped and assisted in the investigation and search. A press conference is scheduled for 6:00pm at BPD Headquarters.” No further details were released.
Pena’s arrest was captured on video.
Victor Pena was first identified by WCVB-TV journalist Kathy Curran as the suspect accused in the disappearance.
“Sources tell us the man in @bostonpolice custody in connection with the disappearance of Olivia Ambrose is 38 year old Victor Pena. He was living in Charlestown. He was homeless at one time and is known to Boston and @MBTATransitPD #wcvb,” Curran wrote on Twitter. Police, who were imminently planning a news conference, have not yet confirmed that information.
Pena’s arrest came just moments after police disseminated photos of him. At that time, they called him a person of interest. Here’s a closer look at each photo individually.
Photo two shows the man’s face closer up:
Journalist Michele McPhee also released these images on Twitter, although police have not done so or confirmed them.
Police also released a detailed timeline of Olivia’s known movements in an effort to generate public tips in the case. Ambrose’s family and friends had joined police in mobilizing a massive effort to find Ambrose, who once studied in Scotland and is known for her love of travel.
At first, photos circulated of a different man last seen with Olivia in the bar. However, police now say they don’t believe that man is connected to her disappearance. That men is not Pena.
A Facebook page has also been created to help find Olivia Ambrose. She is from Wenham and most recently was living in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood in Boston.
Here’s what you need to know:
Boston Police Say Two Men Approached Olivia on the Street & Victor Pena Is Accused of Guiding Her
For the first time, police gave a chronology of the known circumstances surrounding Ambrose’s disappearance. Chillingly, they described two men approaching her and one guiding her toward an MBTA station. They now say one of those men was Pena.
On January 22, 2019, before the arrest, the Boston police wrote that they were “seeking the public’s help to identify the male in the photos above in connection to the investigation into missing person Olivia Ambrose who was last seen in the area of 25 Union Street in Downtown Boston on Saturday, January 19, 2019.”
They added: “Investigators have reviewed surveillance video and marked a timeline of events and locations in the areas of both Downtown Boston and Charlestown in hopes of better understanding the facts and circumstances surrounding Olivia Ambrose’s disappearance.”
Police provided this detailed timeline:
“11:04 PM: Ms. Ambrose is seen leaving a bar located at 25 Union Street (Hennessy’s) with a white male who has since been determined to not be involved in her disappearance.
11:42 PM: Approximately 40 minutes later, two unknown males are observed inviting Ms. Ambrose to walk with them in the area of Congress Street and State Street. One of the males appears to walk ahead while the second male places his arm around Ms. Ambrose and directs her towards the State Street MBTA Station.
12:01 AM: Approximately 20 minutes later, additional video shows Ms. Ambrose being accompanied by that same male, still with his arm around her, exiting the Bunker Hill Community MBTA Station in Charlestown. The other male party is no longer observed in any surveillance video moving forward.
12:13 AM: Approximately 10 minutes later, Ms. Ambrose and the unknown male are observed again in the area of Green Street walking together towards Bartlett Street. A short time later, phone records indicate Ms. Ambrose’s phone was in the general area of the Bunker Hill Housing Development.”
According to the Facebook page devoted to finding her, Olivia “Liviy” Ambrose was last seen “leaving Hennessy’s Bar on Saturday January 19th around 11pm. The bar is located on Union Street near Faneuil Hall, Haymarket and Govenment Center.” MassLive.com reports that Olivia was out with friends, including members of a volleyball team she played on.
Specifically, says the Facebook page, Ambrose was last seen around 11:04 p.m. on January 19, 2019 “with unidentified white male. Wearing a white/beige/grey coat with a red corduroy dress and doc martins.”
The Boston Police Department previously issued a missing person’s alert in Ambrose’s case. It provides a quick summation of information that is similar to the Facebook page, saying, “The Boston Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in efforts to locate Olivia Ambrose who was last seen in the area of 25 Union Street, Boston at about 10:00 p.m. on January 19, 2019. Ambrose is described as a 24-year-old white female, about 5’2”, with blue eyes and curly brown hair. She was last seen wearing a red corduroy dress under a long white and grey coat. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Olivia Ambrose is advised to contact 911 or District A-1 (Downtown) Detectives at (617) 343-4248.”
MassLive reports that Ambrose has a twin sister named Francesa who, along with a friend named Kate Collins, told the publication they had seen Olivia around 10 p.m. as they all danced inside the bar.
“We were all dancing in front of the stage, nothing out of the ordinary,” said Collins to MassLive, which added that “Olivia then walked outside with a man who had been escorted out of the bar by a bouncer,” which was confirmed by surveillance video.
Francesca told NECN that her sister met a man in the bar: “At some point, she went to the bathroom, met the guy, and were talking for awhile, and eventually left together.”
That’s the last time anyone’s heard from her.
In her LinkedIn introduction, Ambrose wrote, “Whilst at university I studied a degree in Spanish, which led to me becoming fluent in the language, gaining excellent analytical skills, and developing excellent time management and organisational abilities.”
She added: “Over the years I have honed my technical and communication skills through both personal, academic, and professional endeavours. I have also been independent from a young age – moving from the US to the UK on my own when I was 18, and then again two years later as I moved to Spain for a year. Through these experiences I have learned to be flexible and can adapt to new environments and situations quickly. Moreover, I thrive in changing environments where there is always the element of surprise. I love to travel and immerse myself within different cultures and countries, which my international background would suggest, and I would love to combine my passion for seeing and understanding different parts of the world into my career.”
She describes Toast as a “an all-in-one point of sale and restaurant management system. Built specifically for restaurants on an affordable cloud-based platform, Toast offers advanced functionality including tableside ordering, quick menu modifications, real-time enterprise reporting, online ordering, and labor management on an easy-to-use interface.”
She received an MA (honors) in Spanish at her university.