Three Pembroke residents have been charged in federal court with kidnapping involving two separate incidents in Bryan County.
According to a press release from the Southern District of Georgia of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Antonio Lamont Murray, 38, Cecil Dewit Nelson, 32, and Gary Lenion McDonald, 35, remain in custody pending detention hearings for their alleged roles in two kidnappings.
The first incident occurred Dec. 1, when the victim was abducted at gunpoint and later released only after a ransom of about $19,000 was paid. The second incident was Jan. 12, when the victim was abducted at gunpoint and released only after a ransom of more than $250,000 was paid.
"The violent and brazen kidnapping alleged in the criminal complaint are acts none too familiar in today's society," U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver said. "When these outrageous acts occur, those responsible must be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows. The United States Attorney's Office has no higher priority than protecting the American people."
The charges resulted from a joint investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, NCIS, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Patrol, the Bryan County Sheriff's Department, the Tattnall County Sheriff's Office, the Richmond Hill Police Department, the Pooler Police Department, the Pembroke Police Department and the Hinesville Police Department.Though charges have been made, the investigation remains ongoing, according to the press release.
“The surrounding law enforcement community, as a whole, came together in response to two serious and violent kidnappings and, as a result much headway has been made in the form of today’s announced arrest of three Pembroke, Georgia residents," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin. "While much headway has been made, this matter remains pending and the FBI and its law enforcement partners asks that anyone with information regarding this matter contact Savannah CrimeStoppers or their nearest law enforcement agency.”
The maximum penalty for the kidnapping offense against all three defendants is life in prison. Tarver emphasized that a complaint is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The burden in any criminal case is on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian T. Rafferty and Carlton R. Bourne Jr. are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Read more in the Jan. 25 edition of the News.