Three American citizens who have been hiding out in Scotland for several years after attempting to kidnap five Mennonite children and slaughter their parents are due to be extradited back home to face charges, federal prosecutors said.

A Scottish court has rejected the appeal of the three to avoid extradition in connection with a violent 2018 kidnapping plot that U.S. prosecutors have compared to a “bad horror movie.”

“If proved, this was a premeditated conspiracy to kidnap five children and to murder their four parents,” said Scotland’s most senior judge, the Lord Justice General Lord Carloway, in handing down the decision, according to the Scottish Sun.

“The crimes, which the appellants have allegedly committed, are extraordinary,” he said, adding that the life sentences the group would face in the U.S. are not “disproportionate” with the alleged crimes.

U.S. prosecutors say the three suspectsValerie Hayes, Gary Reburn, and Jennifer Lynn Amnottfled to the United Kingdom in August 2018 after their attempted kidnapping went off the rails.

They had just forced their way into the home of a Mennonite family in Dayton, Virginia, and were preparing to snatch two young children when the mother managed to call 911, bringing a sheriff’s deputy to the home and thwarting the entire operation, according to a Monday press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.

A fourth suspect, Frank Jesse Amnott, was taken into custody at the scene and never managed to escape, instead pleading guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy charges in December 2019.

“Although the facts of this case read like the script of a bad horror movie, the defendants’ murderous plot was real and it posed a grave risk to their intended victims,” U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said at the time.

The bonkers scheme was allegedly put into motion by Hayes, 41, who “consistently claimed to the Amnotts, and others, that she worked for the U.S. government and that her work included services for the intelligence community or other clandestine organizations,” the Department of Justice said.

Hayes, who had been living with her boyfriend, Reburn, in Maryland, is said to have befriended the Amnotts by responding to a blog post Jennifer Amnott had written about the pain of suffering several miscarriages, the Daily News-Record reported.

In July 2018, prosecutors say she “told the Amnotts that three of her children had been kidnapped and were in the custody of two separate Mennonite families in Dayton.” If the Amnotts would help her “recover” the kids, along with two other children, she allegedly said “the Amnotts could keep one of the other children as their own.”

In reality, Hayes had no relation to any of the children targeted, prosecutors say. It was not immediately clear how or why she set her sights on the kids in the Mennonite community, all of whom were younger than 8 years old.

The group sprung into action on July 29, 2018, with Jennifer Amnott remaining in Maryland to babysit Hayes’ kids while the other three prepared to pounce on two unsuspecting Mennonite families in the dead of night. In addition to making off with the kids, “the conspirators planned to kill the parents of the children” in order to “eliminate witnesses to the abductions,” prosecutors said.

They had managed only to tie up the father in the first home and hold him at gunpoint in the basement before police arrived. A deputy from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office found the kids safe in their bedrooms, and Frank Amnott holding the father hostage in the basement. He was arrested without incident.

“Because their planned abduction and murders at the first house had been thwarted, the conspirators did not make their way to the second house as planned. Instead, Hayes and Reburn returned to Maryland where they reunited with Jennifer Amnott, and thereafter escaped to Scotland,” the Department of Justice said.

They all face life behind bars if convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping involving children, conspiracy to kill witnesses with the intent to prevent communication with law enforcement, kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, attempted killing of a witness, and various firearms offenses.

Hayes, who was arrested in Scotland along with the two others in November 2018, was quoted by the Scottish Sun at the time saying that she had been on a mission for “security services” in Northern Ireland when the bonkers kidnapping attempt was taking place in Virginia.



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