COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Federal Grand Jury has indicted five people accused of attempting to kidnap a Hilliard couple.
According to U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers, Denia I. Avila, 37, of Columbus and four co-conspirators allegedly impersonated federal law enforcement officers and used a Taser while attempting to kidnap Avila’s ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.
The four others charged include, Jessica E. Wise, 38, of Columbus; Ellis L. Ray, II, 19, of Canal Winchester; Michael K. Ousley, 43, of Columbus; and Jerry E. McCallister, Jr, 27, of Columbus.
According to court documents, the suspects attempted to kidnap the two individuals on Nov. 25, 2019, and Dec. 4, 2019, near the victims’ residence in Hilliard.
An affidavit details that during the first attempt, two males wearing all black with black face masks approached the victims as they entered a vehicle around 5:30am. They Tased the male victim’s neck and attempted to remove him from his vehicle. The female victim screamed and the male victim was able to push the attacker back, causing both men to flee on foot.
In the second incident, also before 5:30am, the female victim attempted to leave their residence in the male’s vehicle but was blocked in by the suspect’s vehicle.
It is alleged that two males – wearing black jackets with “Police” jacket patches and holding a photograph of the male victim – approached the truck yelling “Police, open the door.” They attempted to open the truck door, but the victim began honking her horn and drove over a curb to escape the area.
Detectives discovered two videos in which Avila and Wise discuss plans for kidnapping and injuring the victims. A Taser and leg shackles are shown in the videos. Throughout the videos, the two women allegedly discuss disposing of the victims’ vehicles, locking the male victim in a hotel room, leaving the female victim beaten in a remote location, and various ways to evade law enforcement.
In the videos, Avila allegedly states she knows the victims would be too fearful to go to the authorities because she helped smuggle the male victim back into the United States after he was deported, and therefore she knew he was here illegally.
DeVillers says receipts show the co-conspirators also purchased “Immigration” patches. Avila’s work cell phone had a screenshot on “how ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) makes arrests” and searches including “ICE Federal Agent Halloween Costume.”
The five defendants were charged by criminal complaint on July 15.
Conspiracy to commit kidnapping is a federal crime punishable by up to life in prison. Attempted kidnapping is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Conspiring to impersonate an Officer of the United States carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.