Boston’s public housing czar said Thursday that officials are moving to evict a Charlestown man who allegedly held 23-year-old Olivia Ambrose captive for 2½ days in his apartment at the Bunker Hill development.
The eviction confirmation from Bill McGonagle, administrator of the Boston Housing Authority, came on the same day that Ambrose’s sister, Franny, publicly thanked everyone who played a role in her sibling’s dramatic rescue Tuesday afternoon.
Franny Ambrose shared her thoughts in a brief Facebook post, identifying her sister by her nickname Liv.
“Hi Everyone! I want to thank you all for all the sharing and work you did to help liv be found,” Franny wrote.
She said she’s created a Facebook group for people to share well wishes with her sister.
“[A]ll the words of love and encouragement are more than welcome!” Franny wrote. “If you have something you wish to tell Liv, let me know and I can add you to a FB group where I am gathering messages of love for her.”
Olivia Ambrose vanished after leaving Hennessy’s near Faneuil Hall late Saturday night. Police used phone records, video surveillance footage, community tips, and other evidence to track her to the apartment of Victor M. Pena at the Bunker Hill development on Walford Way.
Investigators rushed into the apartment Tuesday afternoon and removed a tearful Ambrose before arresting Pena, records show. The 38-year-old was arraigned on a kidnapping charge Wednesday in Charlestown District Court, where a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Pena, who has a history of mental health issues and menacing behavior toward women, is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital for a 20-day competency evaluation. He’s due back in court Feb. 11. Authorities say more charges are possible as the investigation proceeds.
McGonagle said Thursday in a phone interview that Pena moved into his Bunker Hill unit from a homeless shelter 10 years ago. Pena, McGonagle said, was given a homeless priority and “appropriately screened” with a criminal background check at the time.
Since Pena’s arrest, neighbors have relayed troubling anecdotes of his harassing behavior. But McGonagle said Thursday that none of those interactions was ever brought to the attention of Bunker Hill management.
And, McGonagle said, because none of the restraining orders taken out against Pena, nor any of his separate interactions with Transit Police, resulted in criminal charges, housing officials weren’t privy to them. A 2013 arrest for violating a restraining order was later dropped, records show.
“Generally speaking, he was not on our radar screen,” McGonagle said. “If there is fault here, it is a broader systemic problem with the criminal justice system and the mental health system.”
Soon after Ambrose disappeared, her family launched an aggressive social media campaign in an effort to aid investigators in locating the young Wenham native, who had recently moved to Jamaica Plain.
On Thursday, Franny Ambrose asked the public to delete the Facebook posts she wrote during the anxious period when her sister was still missing.
She said she was making the request “just so when Liv decides to return to FB she does not have to be consistently met with reminders.”
Authorities haven’t detailed how Pena allegedly managed to hold Olivia Ambrose in his apartment for an extended period against her will. An incident report said he had installed a private lock on his door in addition to the regular locks, in violation of housing rules.
His court-appointed lawyer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday.