Five Charged After Kidnapping, Dramatic Rescue of NC Prosecutor's Father
Five people are facing charges after the kidnapping of the father of a North Carolina prosecutor. An elite FBI hostage rescue team raided an apartment late Wednesday, freeing Frank Arthur Janssen, who had been held captive for five nights.
Janssen disappeared April 5 from his home when he answered a knock at the door, then was assaulted by a group of people. A stun gun was reportedly used to subdue Janssen. Authorities say he was then driven to Atlanta, and his wife began receiving a series of threatening text messages.
Authorities say some of the messages made demands for the benefit of Kelvin Melton, a 49-year-old who is serving a life sentence in North Carolina. Investigators discovered that Janssen's daughter previously prosecuted Melton, resulting in a sentence of life without parole.
AP reported that federal investigators believe the suspects are tied to the Bloods street gang.
On Monday, Janssen's wife, Christie, started receiving a series of text messages from a phone in Georgia. One of the texts said if law enforcement was contacted: "we will send (Mr. Janssen) back to you in 6 boxes and every chance we get we will take someone in your family to Italy and torture them and kill them ... we will do drive by and gun down anybody."
The messages made specific demands for the benefit of Melton, an inmate at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, N.C., but the demands were not spelled out in the criminal complaint and authorities did not answer questions at a news conference.
A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation, told The Associated Press that the kidnapping was an act of retaliation and that the communications of those involved suggested a link to the gang the Bloods. The official had been briefed on the investigation.
According to the complaint, at 12:19 a.m. Wednesday, Janssen's wife received a text photograph of him tied up in a chair: "Tomorrow we call you again an if you can not tell me where my things are at tomorrow i will start torchering."
On Thursday in Atlanta, outside the apartment complex, several residents described hearing a loud boom that startled them. Two mangled, charred doors lay in a courtyard area in front of one of the townhomes.
The two-story townhomes with brick and wood siding are next-door to a federal penitentiary, and the razor wire that rings the prison can be seen from the townhomes.
In Wake Forest, there was no answer Thursday at the door to a home address listed for Janssen in a quiet, upscale, golf course subdivision in Wake Forest. Authorities said the Janssen family had asked for privacy.
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