cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
Scattered Clouds
H 82° L 61°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H NaN° L 59°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    Partly Cloudy. H NaN° L 59°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    Chance of T-storms. H 82° L 60°

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Crime & Law
Chilling details of how FBI rescued N.C. kidnapping victim in Atlanta

Chilling details of how FBI rescued N.C. kidnapping victim in Atlanta

RAW: FBI news conference on elaborate kidnapping plot

Chilling details of how FBI rescued N.C. kidnapping victim in Atlanta

Criminal complaints filed Thursday give a chilling look into the kidnapping of a North Carolina man whose daughter had prosecuted a reputed gang member, how that gang member allegedly orchestrated the abduction from his maximum-security prison cell and how the FBI traced texts and cell phones to find and rescue the victim from a southeast Atlanta apartment.

Saturday morning: Frank Arthur Janssen had returned to his Wake Forest, N.C. home from a bike ride when a "heavy set white female" knocked on his door. "When Janssen opened the door, he was assaulted by several individuals who Tased and subdued him," according to the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court against Michael Montreal Gooden, Tiana Maynard, Clifton James Roberts, Jenna Paulin Martin and Jevante Price, who are jailed in connection with the abduction.

"The individuals then forcefully removed Janssen from his home and placed him into a vehicle," the complaint states, adding that he was brought to Georgia and held against his will at an Atlanta apartment.

Monday, 1:51 a.m.: The victim's wife began to receive a series of text messages that were transmitted from a phone in Georgia, stating that Janssen had been kidnapped.

"The sender of the messages stated, among other things, that Frank Janssen was in the trunk of a car on the way to California, if law enforcement was contacted, 'we will send [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 everybody ... and throw a grenade in your window,'" the complaint said, adding that various demands must be satisfied or harm would result to Janssen.

"The sender of the messages made specific demands for the benefit of Kelvin Melton, an inmate at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, N.C.," according to the complaint. "Melton was previously prosecuted by Frank Janssen's daughter, and at the time of these events, was serving a state sentence of life without parole."

Wednesday, 12:19 a.m.: A second demand text was sent to Janssen's wife's cell phone, from a cell phone that was transmitting from a residence in Atlanta. That text message included a photograph of Janssen tied up and seated in a chair. The sender threatened to start torturing Janssen the following day, said another individual had been kidnapped, and warned, "if we find out the police seen this we kill both people now and go for you family."

The text message came from a cell phone with a 404 area code. Records for that number included a history of 24 texts and calls to or from a cell number transmitting from the Polk Correctional Institute in North Carolina. The user of the phone that was transmitting from the prison had also made 99 calls to Melton's daughter, and Melton's girlfriend identified that number as being Melton's number.

Phone records also showed that Melton's number had made 99 contacts with another cell phone with a 770 area code between Saturday and Wednesday.

Wednesday, 8:20 p.m.: A call was placed between Melton's phone and the phone with a 770 area code. At that time, Janssen had not been located by the FBI. The two male callers made several statements during that call:

- "The first spot we are checking out is close to the house."

- "We want to make sure it's in a secluded area and the ground is soft so we can go 3 feet deep."

- "Get a bag, put it over his head, and stuff something in his mouth."

- "However you feel like doing it, just do it."

- "Make sure to clean the area up. 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."

- "Let's do it in the wee hours of the morning."

- "Make sure it is not a half-a--ed job. Get bleach and throw it on the walls. Maybe do it in the closet."

Following that conversation, authorities attempted to enter Melton's prison cell to search for the phone, but he barred the door and smashed the phone, according to the complaint.

At some point during the hunt for Janssen, law enforcement searched a residence on Heyford Court in Austell, "because one of the phones traced to the second threat message was linked to this address."

During that search, "the children of Tiana Maynard were taken into protective custody when it was discovered that their mother was not present," the complaint said.

Wednesday, 11:33 p.m.: A female using the cell phone with the 770 area code contacted another cell phone and stated, "they got my kids."

Thursday, 1:01 a.m.: That same phone with the 770 area code received a call from someone stating, "they just kicked in your door."

The FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team had already made entry into an apartment at the Forest Cove complex on New Town Circle in southeast Atlanta and freed Janssen at 11:55 p.m. Wednesday. According to the complaint, Price, who agents had encountered earlier in the investigation, led the team to the apartment where Janssen was being held -- just feet from the perimeter fence of the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta.

A short time after the recovery of Janssen, Maynard went to a police precinct to collect her children. She arrived in a Chevy Tahoe driven by Roberts. Martin was also in the vehicle.

"Inside the Tahoe, officers observed picks, a shovel and a .45-caliber pistol," the complaint said.

Maynard, Roberts, Martin, Gooden and Price are in custody in Atlanta, said Don Connelly, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

All five suspects appeared in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Gerrilyn Brill on Thursday afternoon. A detention hearing was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to determine if they should be held without bond. The suspects will be tried in North Carolina, authorities said.

Read More

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.


  • The Latest on the crash of a church van and a pickup truck that resulted in what investigators say were 'multiple fatalities' (all times local): 5:50 p.m. A Texas state trooper says 12 people were killed in a crash between a church van and a pickup truck on a two-lane highway in southwestern Texas. Sgt. Conrad Hein of the Texas Department of Public Safety also said three others were injured and taken to hospitals after the head-on collision that happened around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. 83 outside Garner State Park, about 75 miles west of San Antonio. But Hein said he does not know if the lone occupant of the pickup truck is among the dead or how many of the dead were among the 14 people aboard the church van. The 14 in the van were senior members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas. In a statement posted on the church website, church officials said the members were returning from a three-day retreat at the Alto Frio Baptist Encampment in Leakey, about 9 miles north of the crash site. The statement said church officials hadn't learned how many fatalities and injuries resulted from the crash. However, they were 'ministering to family members to help them deal with this tragedy.' ___ 5:30 p.m. A Texas state trooper says there are multiple fatalities in a head-on crash between a church van and a pickup truck in southwestern Texas. Sgt. Conrad Hein of the Texas Department of Public Safety reports the van was carrying 14 people when it collided with the truck, which only had the driver inside. Hein did not know the exact number of deaths. The crash happened about 12:20 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. 83 outside Garner State Park, about 75 miles west of San Antonio.
  • Pickens County deputies are searching for an armed fugitive.  Authorities are looking for Nicholas Bishop in the area of Priest Circle in Talking Rock.  Bishop is believed to be armed with a handgun and on foot after he abandoned a stolen vehicle around 2 p.m.  If you see him, call 911 immediately. Officials say do not attempt to approach him. - Please return for updates.
  • The Braves' new ballpark looks like a throwback stadium with its green seats, brick walls and its old-school, intimate feel. That's from an initial glance inside the park. Beyond the stadium walls sits the real wow factor that could be a game-changer for the industry. Atlanta's new SunTrust Park is part of a 60-acre complex that will include restaurants, retail shops, residential areas, a four-star hotel and a concert hall. The $622 million ballpark is the main attraction, but it is only part of what the Braves are promoting as 'the South's pre-eminent lifestyle destination' — The Battery Atlanta. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred believes it's the model for future ballparks. Manfred told The Associated Press he views the Braves' new mixed-use development as a 'watershed' event for baseball, 'like with Camden Yards in the early '90s.' 'I think the scope of the mixed-use development surrounding the ballpark and the economic opportunity it has created for the club is what people see as revolutionary,' Manfred said Tuesday. 'It's a different era in terms of community financing for facilities. 'I think the kind of mixed-use development the Braves have done at SunTrust Park provides a roadmap for clubs to get new stadiums built.' Baltimore's Camden Yards created a wave of throwback stadiums in baseball when it opened in 1992. Manfred said the Braves' park will be copied by other teams. St. Louis, Boston and Los Angeles are among other cities which have made it easy for fans to dine, shop and even live in complexes that includes sports venues. Manfred said the Braves took the concept to a new level. 'There has never been something this massive around a baseball stadium and it's really an amazing accomplishment,' the commissioner said. The Braves' new home in the northern Atlanta suburbs is the realization of the vision the club wanted but could not develop at Turner Field. They left the downtown facility originally built for the 1996 Olympics amid some opposition. There are concerns about traffic issues in the new location, residents near Turner Field feel abandoned and not all residents helping pay for the new ballpark are happy about the tax incentives the Braves were given to move. Braves chairman Terry McGuirk says the team made the decision in hopes of offering more for its fans. It doesn't hurt that this new complex also offers more for the bank accounts of the team and its owner, Liberty Media — the landlord for most of the businesses around the new ballpark. 'We always knew from our fans that they'd come down to Turner Field and they would get out of their car, run into the stadium and then enjoy themselves in the ways we set up inside the stadium,' McGuirk said last week. 'But they always complained to us there was nothing outside. ... The entire external fan experience around Turner Field was never good and we did our best to make it as good as we could make it.' The first few home games will show if the Braves have adequately addressed the new traffic concerns at the busy interstate exchange in suburban Cobb County, which isn't served by Atlanta's rapid transit system. There also is remaining unrest caused by Cobb County's decision to commit $400 million in public funds for the new stadium. Turner Field won't disappear . It is being converted to be Georgia State's football stadium . The school also will build a new baseball stadium on the adjacent site of old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. But the Braves aren't looking back. They will unveil their dig digs in Friday night's exhibition game against the Yankees for season-ticket holders only. Another trial run for the stadium will come when Georgia plays Missouri in a college game on April 8. Manfred said he plans to attend the Braves' home opener on April 14 against San Diego. The Braves drew inspiration for their development from Ballpark Village, a dining and entertainment district built beside Busch Stadium in St. Louis. 'So we started modeling that,' McGuirk said. Los Angeles also has a large sports, entertainment and residential district built near the Staples Center. Similarly, Patriot Place is a mixed-use development built around Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Some dining and shopping retailers at the Braves complex will be ready for the start of the season. Others will open later in the year. The Omni Hotel, which can be seen behind the centerfield wall, is set to open in early 2018. The hotel and the Comcast office building were the important first anchors of the development. 'Quickly we went from 100,000 square feet to a million and a half square feet in our vision of what the fan experience was going to be,' McGuirk said. SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers said the 25-year naming rights deal, worth an estimated $250 million, was made more attractive to his company by the fact fans will be drawn to the complex throughout the year. 'You're going to have people on the facility and engaging with us other than in 81 games,' Rogers said. '... The Battery creates a 24-7, 365 relationship that just wouldn't exist otherwise.' That's what the Braves are banking on.
  • A drunken driver destroyed a row of headstones at a historic Carrollton cemetery, causing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of damage, police said. According to police, the driver was coming down Martin Luther King Street on March 19, ran a stop sign, jumped a curb and crashed into the city-owned cemetery. The broken headstones range in date from the late 1800s to 1950. 'And what we discussed is, if one is damaged beyond repair, we'll put something back that's respectful. It's hard to replace it with the exact same item. The families aren't around anymore, so the city will take on the responsibility,' city manager Tim Grizzard said. TRENDING STORIES: Thousands of Georgians could lose food stamps next week 16-year-old in custody after hoax call about school gunman Food prices at SunTrust Park vs. Mercedes-Benz Stadium: What's the difference? The 35-year-old driver, Ray Antonio Baker, was arrested and charged with DUI. City officials said they will ask his insurance carrier to pay for the damage. 'Our plan is to go after the individual's insurance to pay for repairs. If that doesn't pay for everything, the city will certainly pick up the tab,' Grizzard said. Officials said this isn't the first time a driver has damaged headstones, but it's not a big enough problem to put up a wall. 'It's not something that has happened often enough that we need to put up a barrier. If it was a recurrent spot, we would do something,' Grizzard said. City officials said it could take weeks to repair the damage.