A man who was involved in a standoff with police at a Portland motel Monday was being sought for assaulting his wife during an argument over her 18-year-old son, according to York County court documents.

An affidavit filed in court by a Maine State trooper said police began looking for Vincent Teruel, 40, late Monday morning after they were called to the Hollis house of Amanda Benwell. Benwell said her husband had beaten her during an argument about Benwell’s 18-year-old son. Benwell said Teruel put her in a chokehold – which Benwell demonstrated on Trooper John Darcy, according to the affidavit – then punched her in the face several times.

The affidavit did not specify the nature of the argument between Teruel and Benwell, only that it was about Benwell’s son.

Benwell said she punched Teruel in the mouth during their fight and Teruel had sent her a photo of his bloody mouth.

Benwell also told police that Teruel, who had been released from prison in Illinois after serving part of a seven-year sentence for cemetery theft and attempted assault on a police officer, had apparently taken a 9 mm handgun that she had kept in her closet, spurring police to launch a manhunt for Teruel.

The search eventually led police to the Motel 6 in Portland, where police learned Teruel checked in on Monday afternoon. That, in turn, led to a prolonged standoff that ended when it turned out that Teruel wasn’t actually in the room while police cordoned off the area outside the motel and were attempting to negotiate with him.

Teruel remained at large until early Tuesday afternoon, when Portland police got a tip that a man matching his description was walking on Congress Street near the Westgate Shopping Center. Officers watched him walk into a bank and approached him as he came out. Teruel led Portland police officers on a brief foot chase down Congress Street before he was taken into custody, Portland police Lt. Robert Martin said.

The affidavit does not shed light on why the police continued to surround the motel room all Monday night, even though Teruel may never have been in the room at all. Darcy’s account said Teruel’s cell phone “pinged” – was located electronically – around Portland before finally ending up on Warren Avenue, apparently near the motel. Teruel also spoke with his parole officer on the phone and police could hear it ringing in the room, but then he stopped using it. Teruel did not speak with the police on his cell phone.

Darcy’s narrative does not explain why police believed Teruel was in the room when he wasn’t.

Teruel made an initial court appearance on a charge of aggravated assault in York County Tuesday, but will not enter a plea until his next date in court in January. He was being held at York County Jail Thursday on $5,000 bail.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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