Five people are facing federal kidnapping charges after officials said they kidnapped a Wake Forest man April 5 because his daughter is a prosecutor.
Frank Arthur Janssen, 63, was rescued late Wednesday night by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in Atlanta, authorities said.
Frank Janssen is currently receiving medical treatment after being rescued, the FBI said in a release.
He was kidnapped from his Wake Forest home April 5 after, officials said, a heavy-set woman knocked on his door. When Frank Janssen opened the door, he was assaulted by several people, who used a Taser on him.
He was stuffed in a vehicle, transported to Georgia and held in an apartment.
On April 7, his wife Christie began receiving text messages that indicated he had been kidnapped. She was told he was in the trunk of a car on the way to California.
She was told if police were contacted, “We will send [him] back to you in six boxes and every chance we get we will take someone in your family to Italy and torture them and kill them … we will drive by and gun down anybody” and “throw a grenade in your window.”
The kidnappers said Janssen would be harmed if their demands were not met. The demands were related to Kelvin Melton, 49, who was being held at Polk Correctional Institute in Butner. Melton is a habitual felon being held under assault with intent to kill charges. He has a criminal history dating back to 1979.
Janssen’s daughter, Colleen, is a Wake County assistant district attorney who had previously prosecuted Melton. He is currently serving a sentence of life without parole.
Ned Mangum, the acting Wake County district attorney, said,“Since Saturday, it’s been a very, very difficult experience for this entire office.
“There have been threats to our assistants over the years and to law enforcement officers over the years, but this one certainly took it to a different level.”Mangum said he will look at security procedures for the staff.
On April 9, a second text to Christie Janssen’s cell phone showed a picture of Frank Janssen tied and seated in a chair. The text threatened he would be tortured if the demands were not met.
“If we find out the police seen this we kill both people now and go for your family,” the text from the kidnappers said.
Police monitored the cell phone number and connected some of the calls to Melton.
In a phone call monitored by the FBI, two male callers stated:
“We want to make sure it’s in a secluded area and the ground is soft so we can go three feet deep.”
“Get a bag, put it over his head, and stuff something in his mouth.”
“Make sure to clean the area up. Don’t leave anything behind. Don’t leave any DNA behind.”
“Get some night time medicine and make him go to sleep.”
“Make him drink a whole bottle of Nyquil.”
Authorities attempted to enter Melton’s prison cell to search for the cell phone, but he barred the door and smashed the phone.
The FBI has said prisoners having cell phones is a real problem. Authorities confiscated 747 prisoner cell phones in North Carolina alone in 2013. Phones are smuggled in through gifts or reach prisoners when guards are bribed.
The FBI rescued Frank Janssen after agents smashed in a door at an Atlanta apartment and rescued him around 11:55 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said.
Arrested and charged in the case are:
· Jenna Paulin Martin - Read criminal complaint against Martin
· Tiana Maynard (aka Tiana Brooks) - Read criminal complaint against Maynard
· Jevante Price (aka Flame) - Read criminal complaint against Price
· Michael Montreal Gooden (aka Hot) - Read criminal complaint against Gooden
· Clifton James Roberts - Read criminal complaint against Roberts
Officials say the investigation is ongoing. The maximum penalty for federal kidnapping is life in prison, officials said.