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Three to be extradited from Scotland over plot to kidnap Mennonite children and kill their parents

A court in Scotland has denied the appeal of three US citizens and said that there is no bar to their extradition to stand trial for an alleged attempted violent kidnapping in 2018 in Virginia.

Valerie Perfect Hayes, 41, Gary Blake Reburn, 58, and Jennifer Lynn Amnott, 36, fled to the UK in August 2018 after the attempted kidnapping of five children in a Mennonite Community in Dayton, Virginia, said the press release by the US State Attorney’s office for the Western district of Virginia on Monday.

The trio face charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping involving children, conspiracy to kill witnesses among others and each faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

“I am grateful to see the extradition process proceeding,” United States Attorney Christopher R Kavanaugh was quoted as saying in the release.

“This community was shocked when these events occurred and the underlying plot was uncovered.”

Court documents show that the Ms Amnott and her husband Frank had become friends with Ms Hayes in 2014 who claimed to work for the US government including services for the intelligence community.

In 2018, Ms Hayes who was living with her boyfriend Mr Reburn in Maryland, contacted the Amnotts who were then living in Florida and said that three of her children had been kidnapped and were being held by two separate Mennonite families in Dayton.

Ms Hayes asked the Amnotts to assist her with recovering the three children along with two other children.

She also promised the Amnotts that if they helped her they could keep one of the other children as their own as they could not conceive their own children.

The Amnotts, Ms Hayes and Mr Reburn then planned to travel from Maryland to Dayton, Virginia to kidnap the children from two separate homes.

They also planned to kill the parents of the children to aid the kidnapping.

Ms Amnott had remained in Maryland to look after Ms Hayes other children but remained in touch with the group on the phone.

Authorities thwarted the attempted kidnapping at the first house in Dayton after the police were called in when the children’s mother escaped.

Mr Amnott was taken into custody while Ms Hayes and Mr Reburn returned to Maryland where they reunited with Ms Amnott.

Subsequently the trio then escaped to Scotland.

While Mr Amnott pleaded guilty in 2019, the other three were arrested in Scotland pending extradition to the US.

On Friday, Scotland’s senior most judge Lord Justice General, Lord Carloway, said: “The crimes, which the appellants have allegedly committed, are extraordinary.”

The judge said that there is no bar to the trio’s extradition even though further appeals remain, reported the BBC.

“It should require some obvious and serious form of ill-treatment to bar the extradition to a country such as the United States for the crimes of conspiracy to murder parents and steal their children,” he said.

The case is being jointly probed in the US by the FBI and the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs is also providing support.

“Although we expect further appeals, the Department of Justice will never stop working to bring those charged back to the United States to face justice,” Mr Kavanaugh said.

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