Men found bound and gagged, chance encounter leads to suspect’s arrest

Posted at 3:53 PM, March 20, 2023 and last updated 3:52 PM, May 2, 2023

By Drew Scofield, Bob Jones

(WEWS) — The Copley Police Department has released new details about the surviving victim in a triple homicide where the bodies of three men were found bound and gagged in two locations in Summit County, Ohio.

On March 10, just after 7 a.m. and prior to the discovery of the bodies of the three men, Copley Police said the department received a call about a “rain-soaked male” walking in the area.

The man spoke little English, so responding officers used a translation app on a phone to communicate with him. He told officers he had been abandoned by his friends the night before. Police took the man to Haven of Rest Shelter and dropped him off.

Ohio gas station where Elias Gudino was located.

The gas station in Copley where Elias Gudino, 58, was located. (Joe McGee/News 5 Cleveland)

Later that morning, the body of a man who had been bound and gagged and shot in the head was found in a ditch. That person has been identified as Domingo Castillo-Reyes, 35, from Youngstown, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Officers then went back to the shelter and took the man to the police station. With the help of a translator from a federal law enforcement agency, officers interviewed the man. Authorities said the man made statements that connected him to the body found in the ditch.

The man told police that he had been kidnapped along with three other men who were from the Youngstown area. He went on to say that the kidnappers shot the man who was later found in the ditch and shot at him, but he wasn’t hurt. He had “played dead” until the kidnappers left and then got up and was attempting to walk back to Youngstown when police were notified about a man walking in the rain. Police initially told News 5 that the survivor had been shot in the head, but they now say he was unharmed.

That evening, Copley Police were driving the man around to see if he could recognize the home where he had been held. When officers stopped at a gas station around 5 p.m., the man told police that he spotted someone there who was one of the kidnappers, authorities said.

That individual, later identified as Elias Gudino, 58, went with police to the station voluntarily and was later charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder in connection with the two shootings in Copley.

Akron bodies found

That same morning, a man driving in Akron spotted two bodies in the woods. One was found face up and the other face down. Both had been bound and gagged, and each had been shot in the head.

The victims have been identified as Inmer Reyes, 25, and Victor Varela-Rodriguez, 31. Both are from Youngstown, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Akron police consider Gudino a suspect in the homicides, but he hasn’t been charged in connection with the Akron men who were found bound and gagged. Akron and Copley police are working together in a joint investigation on the three homicides.

Authorities say more charges are pending against Gudino, and they believe there are additional people involved.

This story was originally published March 20, 2023 by WEWS in Cleveland, an E.W. Scripps Company.