88-year-old Martinsville man found safe, accused abductor in custody

Pair located at Veterans Affairs hospital in Washington DC


An elderly Martinsville man is safe after police say he was abducted.

John Wimbush, 88, and his accused abductor, 59-year-old Valerie Condell, were found at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Washington, DC.

Martinsville Deputy Police Chief Maj. Robert Fincher said Thursday afternoon that investigators used "several investigative tools" to track Wimbush and Condell.

Fincher wouldn't go into detail about the investigative tools.

He said Condell took Wimbush to the hospital to get medical attention, but why she specifically took him to the VA hospital was unclear.

Wimbush suffers from multiple health issues, including dementia.

Fincher also said Condell's mother knows Wimbush and that's how Condell learned about him.

Why Condell drove all the way to Martinsville from her home in Maryland to try to extort money from Wimbush was unclear Friday.

Fincher said investigators will know more once they have a chance to talk to her.

Police say Condell picked up Wimbush Wednesday outside his caretaker's home on Forest Street, telling Wimbush she was his daughter.

She then reportedly took him to his bank and tried to get him to withdraw money.

The bank teller knew something wasn't right, though.

"The teller at the bank knew the family, and was familiar with the daughter, and knew that wasn't the daughter," Martinsville Police Chief Eddie Cassidy said.

Fincher said that when Condell was confronted at the VA hospital, she continued to claim that she was Wimbush's daughter.

She is being held in Washington, DC pending extradition.

As of Thursday, she was charged with abduction with the intent to extort money, but Fincher emphasized that the investigation is ongoing and she could face more charges.


An 88-year-old man has been taken from his home, according to the Martinsville Police Department. 

A Silver Alert has been issued for John Wimbush, who police say has dementia and suffers from various other medical conditions.

According to Virginia State Police, he was last seen at his home on Forest Street in Martinsville at 10:28 Wednesday morning and is believed to be in danger. 

Police believe Wimbush was taken by 59-year-old Valeria Condell, also known as Valerie Swinson, of Maryland.

According to police, Condell is acting as Wimbush's daughter, but the two are not related. 

Police say she took Wimbush to his bank and tried to get him to withdraw money, but the teller knew Condell was not his daughter and contacted police. 

Condell is 5-foot-eight and weighs 167 pounds with brown eyes and black and blonde hair. She was last seen wearing a black and white striped tank top.

Wimbush is 5-foot-six and weighs 176 pounds with gray hair. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, jacket, blue jeans and uses a cane to walk. 

Warrants have been issued on Condell for abduction with the intent to extort money, according to police. 

The two are believed to be traveling in a black 2017 Nissan Pathfinder and are believed to be traveling on I-81 north to I-95 north to Fort Washington, Maryland. 

If you have seen or have any information about Wimbush, call 911. 

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