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Nine People Indicted In Kidnapping Of Wake Forest Man

Courtesy of the Wake Forest Police Department

All eight suspects involved in the kidnapping of a man from his home near Raleigh and taken to Atlanta are now in custody after being indicted by a grand jury on federal kidnapping charges.  

FBI agents say the victim was held hostage for five days in hopes that his daughter would help an inmate that she prosecuted.

The inmate, 49-year-old Kelvin Melton, and eight others -- ranging in age from 18 to 30 -- were indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday. Melton is serving a life sentence for being a violent habitual felon. According to the indictment, he used a cellphone to plan and execute an elaborate kidnapping plot from the state prison in Butner. He recruited kidnappers -- and offered to pay them up to $10,000 each.

They were given specific instructions – they had to wear khaki pants and collared shirts.

The plan went wrong when they arrived at the home of sixty-three-year-old Frank Janssen. They had the wrong address. The target, according to the indictment, was Wake County assistant district attorney Colleen Janssen. She prosecuted Kelvin Melton two years ago.

When Frank Janssen opened the door, he was pistol whipped and tasered.

The kidnappers then forced him into the backseat of a car and drove him to an apartment in Atlanta.

The indictment says Melton made "various demands" but does not elaborate.

While Janssen was being held, Melton told kidnappers to send Janssen's wife threatening text messages. They told her that if she contacted police, they would cut him up and send him back to her in six boxes. 

After the fifth day, the indictment says, Melton told the kidnappers to kill Janssen. But by then, FBI agents became aware that Melton was behind the plot. Just before midnight, FBI agents rescued Janssen.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.