EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 11, 2013

Police in two states seek murder suspect

Methuen man wanted in connection with Salem assault

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
jmackenzie@eagletribune.com

---- — SALEM, N.H. — Police in two states are searching for a Methuen man, wanted for an attempted murder at a Salem motel Saturday night.

Walton F. Valentin, 30, allegedly tried to shoot his girlfriend, then choked and beat her after his gun jammed. He is considered armed and dangerous, according to Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten.

Valentin, whose last known address was in Methuen, allegedly jumped into his girlfriend’s minivan in Lawrence earlier Saturday and held a handgun to her stomach.

The pair traveled to the Park View Inn on South Broadway in Salem and once inside a room there, the violence continued, according to Patten.

At the motel, Valentin pointed the gun at the woman and pulled the trigger, Patten said. But the gun jammed.

That didn’t stop the attack, Patten said. Valentin then choked and hit his victim over the head with the gun, knocking her unconscious, according to police. He also threatened to kill the woman’s relatives in the Dominican Republic.

Valentin reportedly took off in the victim’s minivan, later found abandoned in Andover. When the woman regained consciousness, she called police, just past 7 p.m.

“She suffered significant head wounds, lacerations,” Patten said.

She was treated at Parkland Medical Center in Derry.

Salem, Methuen and Lawrence police are searching for Valentin.

His victim’s minivan was held at the Andover police station, where Salem detectives searched it yesterday. The vehicle was later released, Patten said.

Valentin, who faces numerous charges from this incident, also has outstanding warrants in Massachusetts.

“He has warrants for violent crimes in two states,” Patten said yesterday.

Another police source said Valentin has warrants related to a home invasion and an assault in the Bay State.

The warrants for his arrest from Salem include charges of attempted second-degree murder, second-degree assault, kidnapping with injury, criminal threatening, violation of a protective order and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Methuen police Lt. Michael Pappalardo said Salem police contacted his department and informed them of the warrants against Valentin.

“We confirmed that the warrants were in effect and we went to two different locations (in Methuen) early (Sunday) afternoon in an attempt to locate him,” Pappalardo said yesterday. “We were allowed entry into both multi-family dwellings by the occupants, but the suspect was not at those locations. At this point, we are still searching and working in conjunction with New Hampshire.”

Asked whether his department was familiar with the suspect, Pappalardo would only say Valentin is known to them.

In October 2007, Valentin was arrested with three others during a drug raid in Leominster. In January 2008, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of trafficking more than 200 grams of cocaine, according to published reports.

He originally was held on $500,000 cash bail, but in 2009, was found not guilty in Worcester Superior Court after a jury-waived trial.

In October 2009, Valentin was arrested in Lawrence on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to a police log.

Lawrence police could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Patten confirmed the victim and Valentin were in a relationship and called the attack a domestic violence incident.

He said local police are reaching out to state and federal agencies for assistance in their search for Valentin.

“They have fugitive apprehension resources that are of a wider breadth than ours,” he said.

Salem police will continue to work with their counterparts in Methuen and Lawrence, he said.

Staff writer Mike LaBella contributed to this report.