Detectives investigate scam kidnapping

Two Marathon parents got a scare last Wednesday when a man called to say he’d kidnapped their two children; the case turned out to be an apparent scam attempt to get them to pay cash in exchange for their children’s lives.

The victims received a phone call at 4:30 p.m. from an unknown man who said he had their son and daughter and wanted $1,500.00 in ransom money. At first, they suspected a scam, but became alarmed when they could not reach either child; their children are 14 and 21 years of age.

The victims called the Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Wilfredo Guerra and Sgt. Ken Fricke responded. When the officers arrived, the man was still on the phone with the alleged kidnapper, who instructed him to go to the closest Winn Dixie or Publix to exchange money for the children.

Deputy Guerra concealed himself in the victim’s car so he could respond to anything which might take place at close quarters; Sgt. Fricke responded to the local Publix grocery store to watch what happened from a distance. As the father spoke to the unknown caller, he was instructed to wire money to a woman in Puerto Rico. Just before he conducted the transaction, however, the two children were located safe and sound. At that point, the father was instructed not to wire the money because the caller was definitely conducting a scam.

Detectives are continuing to investigate this case and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been notified.

Anyone who receives a phone call like this one should notify law enforcement immediately and should not try to deal with it alone.

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