INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Six people were charged Wednesday with conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the disappearance of two Indianapolis teenagers who were taken to Detroit, allegedly in retaliation for their older sister stealing a large amount of cash and drugs from one of their abductors, authorities said.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Blackwell and his 13-year-old sister, Emma Blackwell, were abducted from their home at gunpoint early Monday and taken to Detroit in separate vehicles, authorities said.

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Police rescued the boy, who was bound and blindfolded, from the luggage compartment of an SUV after a chase in Detroit on Monday evening. Authorities said the girl was taken to Ohio, dropped off at a Taco Bell and given $200 to take a taxi back to Indianapolis, where she was found at her home on Tuesday.

The U.S. attorney’s office charged the older sister’s ex-boyfriend, John Thomas, along with alleged accomplices Bernando Reeves, Ali Hussain Ashore, Mohammed Karkash, April Sandell and Alaa Al-Salehi.
Court papers filed on Wednesday said the teens were deliberately targeted by Thomas and the others after their older sister, Whitney Blackwell, reportedly stole $120,000 cash and thousands of dollars in drugs from a home she and Thomas shared in Detroit.

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Authorities said several armed men kicked in the door to the Indianapolis home where the children were staying with their mother and a friend of their mother’s around 2:30 a.m. Monday, asking where the money was before allegedly binding the teens’ hands with zip ties and forcing them into separate SUVs.

U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler said the FBI and U.S. Marshal’s Service worked with police in Indianapolis and Detroit to trace the teens’ whereabouts, including by tracking cellular phone calls and text messages between the alleged accomplices, and through phone calls the men placed to family members of the teens demanding ransom for their return.


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