FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) — “It’s just one of those bizarre cases,” Genesee County, Michigan Sheriff Robert Pickell said.
He explained that a woman called his office in October saying her son had been kidnapped.
“She said, ‘My son is being held against his own will for ransom money, and I believe he’s a drug dealer,'” Pickell explained.
The woman told Pickell the last time she saw her son was six days prior. Within that time frame, Pickell said someone called the woman asking for $1,000 to free her son and his vehicle. They also called the son’s father asking for $500.
Pickell said the worried mother sent the $1,000 through grocery store Meijer, where someone came and picked up the ransom.
“Well, when we get into the case, we check all the tapes and the surveillance footage and we see the defendant, Jason, picking up the check himself and driving off on his own car,” Pickell said.
Jason Hillier is the woman’s son.
“The son is extorting his mother, shaking her down, because he has a drug problem and he needed the money for drugs,” Pickell said.
Before they were caught, Hillier and his friend, Michael Forester, asked his parents for another $150. They set up a meeting time — but this time deputies were there to arrest them.
“What could be more frightful to a mother than to find out your son’s been kidnapped?” the sheriff said.
40-year-old Hillier and 20-year-old Forester are each facing one count of false pretenses. Hillier’s charge carries a higher sentence.
“It’s one of those cases that you just see and you shake your head. You say, ‘How in God’s name can you do this to your mom and your dad? How do you – after they raise you, they provide you with everything and in the end because of your drug habit – you shake ’em both down for money,'” Pickell said.
He added that this is just one more example of why the opioid epidemic needs to be taken under control.