Family of Ogden man accused of kidnapping ex Tuesday night speaks out

OGDEN, N.Y. (WHEC) — The family of an Ogden man accused of setting off a domestic dispute and kidnapping drama says he was troubled but that he may have been pushed too far.

Paul Collen was found dead Wednesday morning after police say he abducted his ex-girlfriend on Tuesday night.

Collen’s relatives say his struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may have overwhelmed him as he dealt with an acrimonious breakup.

"I loved the man. He was a great father,” declared Josh Cromp, Collen’s stepson, for whom Collen was his only father figure.

Cromp said his stepfather, who relatives knew as "Allen", was no angel and had his demons but that he has trouble imagining him as a dangerous man.

"I want them to know, people to know, that he’s not some terrible psychopath,” he said.

On Tuesday night in Spencerport, police say Collen kidnapped his ex longtime girlfriend Jessica Northrup. That touched off a night of searching by police. Investigators say she managed to escape. She was taken to the hopsital and relased later that day. He was found dead nearby, having apparently shot himself.

The Ogden Police Department reports it had had numerous contacts with Collen, including confrontations with his ex and violations of two restraining orders that he stay away from her, first a “no offensive conduct” order, then a “full stay away” order issued in the past couple of weeks.Cromp remembers Collen as a devoted dad, veteran, and fellow army soldier, but a man who also suffered PTSD after his years in sometimes traumatic combat as an army ranger.

Ogden Police Chief Chris Mears said his department was familiar with Collen, that police had been concerned about Collen’s mental health and last month, even searched for him for two days, concerned he might be suicidal. Then a week later, arrested him for violating his restraining order. Mears says Collen also had an outstanding warrant from Allegheny County where he was accused of violating the order.

Cromp says Collen had been getting mental help but had also hit a rough time, possibly including losing custody of a beloved dog.

“He just got pushed to the point where he felt all hope was lost,” he said. “That he just… no matter what he was going to do, he wasn’t going to win in any way, shape or form.”

On top of that, Cromp says Collen was dealing with the anniversary of a particularly traumatic combat situation from his days as an Army Ranger.

If you or a loved one are the victim of domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) provides help in more than 170 languages. Click here for more resources.