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Whitley County man sentenced to life in prison after “violent kidnappings”

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Published: May. 12, 2022 at 4:16 PM EDT
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WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A Whitley County man was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.

62-year-old George Oscar Messer was convicted by a federal jury of two counts of kidnapping.

According to officials, both kidnappings took place in January 2022.

A news release said the kidnappings were motivated by an unsuccessful drug transaction, where Messer’s son and his co-conspirators lost $10,000.

According to the release, Messer arrived at the scene of the kidnappings with several guns.

The release went on to say Messer held a .44 Magnum Revolver to one victim’s head while demanding for the lost money and sexually assaulted the second victim.

Messer and his co-conspirators held the two victims for approximately 24 hours. During this time, the victims were interrogated, threatened and assaulted, according to the news release.

The victims escaped after a family member noticed them in a ditch on the side of the road with Messer.

Police found 15 guns and numerous controlled substances at the Messer home.

“This is an unsettling example of the disturbing effects of illegal drug trafficking on our communities,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “In this case, it also wrought armed kidnappings, tortuous threats, and repeated sexual assaults. That unconstrained violence and unspeakable infliction of suffering certainly warrants the sentence imposed. I want to commend our law enforcement partners for their dedicated efforts in this case, without which this prosecution would not have been possible.”

Messer’s co-conspirators, Jake Messer, Joshua Mills and Stephen Jewell, are awaiting sentencing.

“This defendant was part of an armed drug-trafficking organization that committed heinous acts of violence,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Division. “I commend the efforts of the ATF agents and Kentucky State Police who worked diligently on this investigation to help bring justice to the victims who were kidnapped, tortured, and forced to endure the unimaginable. We hope that this life sentence brings some form of healing to the victims and sends a very clear message that ATF and our law enforcement partners will not stand by and allow these acts of violence.”

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