FBI rescues man kidnapped from North Carolina - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

FBI rescues man kidnapped from North Carolina

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Court sketch of suspects Court sketch of suspects

Family and friends of Frank Arthur Janssen are breathing a sigh of relief after the 63-year-old returned home safe and sound Thursday.

"He spent five nights in the hands of a group of very dangerous people. We can only imagine the uncertainty confusion and fear he experienced," said Jon Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Charlotte office.

Janssen was reported missing Saturday. According to federal criminal complaints, several people forced their way into Janssen's home Saturday, used a stun gun on him and then forced him into a car.

Two days later Janssen's wife began getting text messages from a phone in Georgia. The complaint said the text messages said Janssen was in a trunk headed to California and if Janssen's wife Christie contacted police, her husband would be sent back in six boxes and other family members would be kidnapped and tortured.

"I can tell you Mr. Janssen was targeted by a group as part of an elaborate kidnapping plot. Specific demands were sent to Mr. Janssen's family for the benefit of Kelvin Melton, an inmate in the Polk Correctional Institute in Butner N.C.," Strong said.

Melton is serving a life sentence after he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and for being a violent habitual felon. The FBI said Janssen was targeted because of his family ties.

"Melton was previously prosecuted by Frank Janssen's daughter who is an assistant district attorney and as a result, Melton received a state sentence of life without parole," Strong said.

The FBI said the ring leader of this homicidal plot was Melton from prison.

After going through the federal criminal complaint, CBS46 learned that Janssen was just hours away from being killed and buried.


The complaint states a phone conversation lead by Melton detailed how and where to bury Janssen.

It said, "We want to make sure it's in a secluded area and the ground is soft so we can go three feet deep."

Late Wednesday night, an elite FBI hostage rescue team freed Janssen and arrested five suspects at a southeast Atlanta apartment complex.

Five people have been charged in the kidnapping: Jenna Paula Martin, Tianna Maynard, Javante Price, Michael Montreal Gooden, and Clifton James Robin.

When the judge asked them if they were aware of their charges, all nodded and said they were.

According to the criminal complaint, Martin and Maynard admitted to the kidnapping.

All five are facing conspiracy to commit kidnapping for ransom charges. If convicted, that carries a sentence of life in prison with no parole.

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