FBI Columbia
Public Affairs Specialist Denise Taiste
(803) 551-4200
July 15, 2014

Kidnapping Victim Rescued by FBI

The FBI announced today that a 23-year-old South Carolina man was successfully recovered via a multi-agency rescue effort. The man was kidnapped in St. Matthews, South Carolina, and transported across state lines into North Carolina by a group of people as part of an elaborate plot with an international nexus. Three individuals have been arrested thus far for their involvement in the plot, and additional arrests are anticipated. More information about these arrests and charges will be disseminated by the United States Attorneys’ Offices for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the District of South Carolina.

The victim was rescued at approximately 5:00 a.m. on July 15, 2014, at a residence in Cumberland County, North Carolina. For the safety of the victim and the victim’s family, his name is not being released. The investigation quickly escalated into a large-scale international effort after the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and, subsequently, the FBI on July 9 and 10 about a missing person’s case.

Demands were sent to the victim’s family within hours of his disappearance and continued over a period of several days. FBI agents in South Carolina and North Carolina were in constant contact with other law enforcement agencies and departments across the country during the investigation and execution of the mission.

“The cooperation among federal, local, and state law enforcement agencies and across state lines was nothing short of incredible throughout this investigation,” said David Thomas, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Columbia Field Office. “The attention and resources contributed to this investigation should send a strong message that the FBI and its partners will not tolerate the kidnapping of American citizens.”

Extensive resources were sent to the Charlotte and Columbia FBI Field Offices by FBI Headquarters, to include the Hostage Rescue Team, a highly trained group of special agents who are often called upon to respond to an extraordinary crisis. Crisis negotiators, multiple FBI SWAT teams, Evidence Response Teams, analysts, technical specialists, and other personnel were also sent to assist.

Numerous law enforcement agencies and departments played key roles in assisting the Columbia FBI Field Office in this successful recovery mission: FBI field offices in Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, Jacksonville, Newark, New Haven, Norfolk, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Washington, D.C.; Legat Mexico City SLED; the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office; the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office; the South Carolina Department of Public Safety; the Columbia Police Department; the Richland County Sheriff’s Office; the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office; the University of South Carolina Police Department; Bladen County Emergency Services; the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office; the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office; the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office; the Durham County Sheriff’s Office; the Durham Police Department; the Elizabethtown Police Department; the North Carolina Department of Public Safety; the Raleigh Police Department; the Fayetteville Police Department; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the District of South Carolina.

The FBI could not have accomplished an operation of this magnitude without the coordination of these important partners and others who aided in this successful outcome and thanks our partners for their invaluable assistance.