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Drones used by Mennonite imposters to track children in attempted kidnappings

Drone used by Mennonite imposters to track children in attempted kidnappings

In this bizarre story that takes place in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Mennonite imposters used drones to track five children in an attempt to kidnap them, newly-unsealed court documents show.

Justin Rohrlich reports for Quartz that:

A group of would-be kidnappers posing as Mennonites in an attempt to snatch five children from their families tracked their movements using a drone, according to a newly-unsealed court document.

The new document, a search warrant application filed by the FBI under seal at the end of January, reveals previously-unknown details about the bizarre 2018 plot, which involved Frank Jesse Amnott, a registered nurse in Pensacola, Florida; Amnott’s wife Jennifer, a hospital coordinator who also worked as a doula; a high school lacrosse coach; and a Maryland woman masquerading as a secret agent.

Frank and Jen Amnott desperately wanted to start a family of their own but weren’t able to conceive.

Frank assured Jen the kidnapping would still be taking place that day, just later in the evening.

“Just make sure you come home,” Jen responded. “And please bring our son.”

That evening, someone using the name “Bjorn Rassmussen” appeared in the text exchanges and, according to the FBI filing, “took the lead on surveillance. Bjorn was being assisted by another individual named ‘Wheeler’ who apparently was using drones to conduct surveillance.”

In a group text, Reburn asked: “B[jorn] what’s going on. Any intel from wheeler and drone activity[.]” Later, Reburn texted, “We need Intel from you and wheeler. We are going in tonight…at dusk or just before. The same game plan as last night.”

Frank Amnott pleaded guilty last December and is scheduled to be sentenced May 26. His lawyer, Aaron Cook, told Quartz he expects the hearing to be postponed. Amnott faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. No US charges have yet been filed against the other three.

It’s a very bizarre story in which the Mennonite imposters used a drone to track the children they planned to kidnap. They also planned to murder their parents. Luckily in most cases, drones are used for good and not for nefarious plans as described here.

You can read the Quartz article here and also find more background here and here.

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Haye Kesteloo

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