Four Michigan residents – three men and one woman – are behind bars after police uncovered an alleged plot by the four to kidnap, rape, torture and kill a child, USA Today is reporting. The four did not have a specific target in mind, but instead allegedly planned to abduct a random child from a grocery store parking lot or county fair at an opportune time.
Matthew Toole, 32; his girlfriend, Talia Furman, 32; Jayme LaPointe, 19; and David Bailey, 37, are all being held on various charges after police uncovered the plot while investigating child pornography, says Detective Gerald Yott of the Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit.
“They committed acts on their own children and were making sexually abusive material. They were all sharing and exploiting their own children and other children.”
Looking at text messages and other communications between the suspects, authorities say the four discussed their plans. Specifically, they allegedly discussed how they could abduct a child and get away with it. To that end, they purportedly honed in on places where there were unlikely to be security cameras, such as parades, county fairs, or the parking lots of grocery stores.
“It was something they had chatted about and they had met in person to formulate their plan.”
Further, they allegedly discussed how to kill the child once they were done, and then how to dispose of the body.
Fortunately, says Yott, they did not carry out their plan.
“To our knowledge they did not execute their plan and there were no child victims.”
All four face up to life in prison for their alleged roles in the production of child pornography and the alleged abuse of their own children.
While the concept is terrifying, it is in fact exceedingly rare for child predators to randomly abduct children who are strangers to them. In fact, the vast majority of victims of child sexual abuse, and of abduction, are victimized by someone known to them, usually a family member, according to the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children.
Still, attempted abduction by strangers does happen – and indeed, it happened in Michigan just a few weeks ago.
As People reported at the time, back in August four Michigan girls were walking outside of a convenience store when a suspect allegedly tried to abduct two of them. The girls fought off the alleged abductor, later identified as 22-year-old Bruce Hipkins, by kicking and hitting him and dousing him with hot coffee.