Atlanta, GA, United States (4E) – A kidnapped father of a North Carolina prosecutor was rescued Wednesday in Atlanta and his five kidnappers were charged with kidnapping, the FBI announced on Thursday.
Frank Janssen, 63, was unharmed when FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team found him at an apartment complex in New Town Circle just before midnight Wednesday. He was reunited with his family, John Strong, special agent in charge of the FBI in North Carolina, told reporters at a news conference.
FBI and SWAT teams also arrested the suspected kidnappers: Jenna Paulin Martin, 21, Tiana Maynard, 20, Jevante Price, 20, Michael Montreal Gooden, 21, and Clifton James Roberts, 29.
The kidnappers, who seized Janssen from his Wake Forest home on Saturday, were being directed via cell phone by Kelvin Melton, 49, an inmate serving life sentence at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina. The calls between Melton, whom Janssen’s daughter helped prosecute for attempted murder in 2011 leading to his incarceration, and the kidnappers allowed the FBI to track the location of Janssen.
Two days after kidnapping him, the kidnappers called Janssen’s wife making demands that the FBI did not divulge and warning her not to notify the police or else her husband and other members of his family would be killed. The kidnappers also threatened to torture Janssen if she fails to comply with their demands and sent her a text message and picture of her husband tied to a chair around 12:19 a.m. Wednesday.
The FBI tapped the cell phone conversations between Melton and the kidnappers. They heard two men talking about how to kill Janssen, dispose of his body and clear the crime scene of any DNA evidence.
When authorities raided Melton’s cell, the inmate tried to smash his cell phone. Officials do not know why Melton has a cell phone and what was his motive for ordering Janssen’s kidnapping.
Melton was convicted Oct. 17, 2012, on charges of being a violent habitual felon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.