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by Clellie Allen, Editor
WAKE FOREST — An “elaborate kidnapping plot” that resulted in Frank Janssen enduring “five nights in the hands of very dangerous people” is how FBI Agent John Strong characterized the disappearance of Wake Forest resident Frank Janssen in a news conference today.
Janssen, 63, was rescued by the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) shortly before midnight last night, from an Atlanta, Ga. apartment. The kidnappers, according to phone conversations released by investigators, appeared to be on the verge of murdering Janssen and were discussing where they would bury his body.
Taken into custody and charged with federal kidnapping charges were Jenna Paulin Martin, 21; Tiana Maynard, also known as Tiana Brooks, 20; Jevanta “Flame” Price, 20; Michael Montreal “Hot” Gooden, 21 and Clifton James Roberts, 29.
None of the five appear in a search of North Carolina or Georgia offender records.
Strong, the special agent in charge of FBI in N.C. said the kidnappers made several demands for the benefit of Kelvin Melton, an inmate at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner. Melton was previously prosecuted by Frank Janssen’s daughter, resulting in a life without parole sentence for Melton. Strong did not elaborated on what the demands included.
Melton, 49, was convicted in 2012 of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and of being a violent habitual felon. He had previously been convicted for first degree manslaughter in New York.
In criminal complaints released by the FBI, the suspects had been in contact with Melton during the kidnapping through cellphones.
They also began contacting Janssen’s family by text messages, threatening to torture, kill and dismember Janssen if the family did not comply with their demands.
Just hours prior to the HRT rescuing Janssen, the FBI intercepted a phone call between Melton and one of the kidnappers where they discussed drugging Jansen with Nyquil, murdering him by asphyxiation or some other method and then burying the body in a secluded area.
Partial transcripts of phone conversations read, “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 anything. Don’t leave any DNA behind.”
Strong said he was “honored and humbled to say that Frank Janssen is safe and back with his family.”
Wake Forest Police Chief Jeff Leonard said he knew it was “shocking for members of our community to learn the Mr. Janssen was not only missing, but had been kidnapped.” He said the family would “need time to heal from the horrifying events.”
Investigators declined to make further comment saying that while Janssen has been recovered, the investigation is still active.