A father who believed his son had been kidnapped by someone demanding ransom money reportedly learned that it was a scheme his son had set up in an alleged attempt to take his cash.
On August 13, the father of 24-year-old Austin Blake Hawks was reportedly contacted through Facetime by someone who showed him live streaming video of his son with a firearm against his head. His son was reportedly tied to a tree and appeared as if he was being held against his will, and the unknown caller asked for money to ensure the man’s safety.
The concerned dad notified the Lee County Sheriff’s Department about the situation, and they started to search for the place where his son was being held.
The alleged kidnapper reportedly issued a specific time by which they expected the payment, and when the money was not sent the father was contacted again.
While speaking with the suspect, Hawks’ father believed a gun had been shot and it made him think his son had been murdered.
The alleged kidnapper reached out to Hawks’ dad a short time later. During their communication, the caller said his son’s fingers would be chopped off, one by one, if they did not get the money they were asking for from the father.
The authorities were unable to find Hawks on Thursday, and when the suspect stayed in contact through Friday they started considering the idea that the kidnapping had been staged in an attempt to extort money.
When Hawks’ father next spoke with the suspect, the authorities told him to assure them that he would send money through Western Union, and police went to the location to see who would try to retrieve the cash.
Upon their arrival, it was reported that the deputies found Hawks in the process of getting the money, and a man seen in the same store and identified as 36-year-old David Fisher Jr. was believed to have been a part of the alleged scheme.
Hawks and Fisher were taken into custody and incarcerated for the allegations.
Hawks is facing charges for suspicion of extortion, and weapon possession, and his bond was set at $150,000.
Fisher is expected to face charges for extortion, and his bond was set at $100,000.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a criminal offense, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.