Armed ransom attempt leads to three arrests

Three area residents are in jail after allegedly trying to hold a woman for ransom at gunpoint in a hotel room Thursday evening, police said.

A 22-year-old Portland woman let 59-year-old Edward Lamar Ray, 59, whom she didn't know, into her hotel room at Ramada Inn, 2250 Biddle Road, Medford around 5 p.m.

Ray allegedly pointed a gun at the woman and demanded she call her boyfriend, ordering he bring an undisclosed amount of cash if he wanted her released unhurt, Medford police said in a news release.

The gun ultimately was found not to be a real weapon, Lt. Mike Budreau said.

Police would not comment on why the woman let Ray into her hotel room in the first place.

The woman called her 31-year-old boyfriend, also from Portland. The man then called police.

Medford police said Ray held the woman captive for several minutes before fleeing without any money. The woman was not hurt.

Police said the suspected kidnapper ran to a silver van with tinfoil in the windows, where Ronnie Lee Kyles, 34 and Melissa Beth Cranmer, 26, waited. All three suspects fled in the van, which a witness described to police when they arrived.

Police stopped the van at Bullock Road a few minutes later and arrested all three suspects. Police also recovered the gun, which they determined was a fake.

Police said Cranmer knew the 22-year-old's boyfriend and thought he had money, which led to the attempted ransom.

All three suspects were arrested on charges of first- and second-degree kidnapping and attempted second-degree robbery. All are Measure 11 crimes.

All three suspects were being held in the Jackson County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail each, reduced from the original $1 million amount following their arrests. They were arraigned Friday and have a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 3.

Neither Ray, who previously lived in Grants Pass but doesn't have a currently listed address, nor Cranmer, whom police identified as a Medford transient, appear to have any significant criminal history, court records show. Records show Kyles, who lives in the 300 block of North Columbus Avenue in Medford, has been convicted of sexual assault, third-degree assault and assaulting a police officer.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at

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