“We had suspicions about (the kidnapping) all along, but we needed the evidence,” Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said.
Detrick F. Favors, 41, of Farmington, is in the Oconee County Jail without bond on charges of conspiracy to commit theft by extortion and making a false statement.
Favors reported Nov. 14, 2013, that at gunpoint three men and a woman forced their way into his home and kidnapped him. One of the kidnappers was arrested that day at the ransom drop-off point in Watkinsville, while the other three were arrested in following days.
Two of the suspects, Justin D. Jackson, 25, and Karin J. King, 38, both of Augusta, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit extortion with each sentenced to a year in prison followed by probation. Another suspect, Derrick D. Ingram, 36, has been charged in the kidnapping, but has not yet entered a plea.
The charges against Favors were handed down by an Oconee County grand jury, which heard evidence in the case, Berry said.
A bench warrant was issued for Favors’ arrest and when he went to get his driver’s license renewed Tuesday morning at the Georgia State Patrol headquarters in Athens, a check showed the warrant and a state trooper made the arrest, according to Berry.
From the time the kidnapping was reported, Berry said investigators began to question the story provided by Favors.
“We’ve been worried about this all along, particularly when we made the first apprehension and the story started to unfold rather quickly, but again, things take time,” the sheriff said.
“They wanted money from Detrick’s girlfriend. They were hoping to get money from anybody,” Berry said. “The idea was if Detrick showed himself as being kidnapped that someone in their circle of friends will come up with some money.”
The kidnappers demanded $80,000 ransom initially, then upped it to $100,000, according to previous reports.
But Favors’ girlfriend, China Marie Wood, who was with him when he was arrested Tuesday believes he is innocent of concocting the scheme.
“I’m in shock right now,” the 25-year-old woman said less than two hours after Favors was jailed. “He would never, ever try to extort me or anything along those lines. We’ve lived together for years. We have kids together and there’s no reason to try to do that to me.”
The day of the kidnapping, Wood contacted the sheriff’s office at about 8 a.m. to report that Favors called to say he had been kidnapped and she must provide “a quantity of money to guarantee his safe return,” according to a sheriff’s report. One of the kidnappers took the phone from Favors and told Wood in an angry tone that he would kill Favors, then find and kill her and the children if she didn’t cooperate, the deputy said.
Favors called later that morning while the deputy was at the home and the call was recorded and put on speaker phone, according to the report. Wood told Favors she had the cash and would bring it to the drop-off point at Butler’s Crossing shopping center, according to the report.
The deputy listening to the call described Favors as “very calm” during the conversation.
At the drop-off point, deputies arrested Jackson. Several hours later, deputies said Favors was released unharmed at a location in Morgan County.
In a June interview with the Athens Banner-Herald, Favors expressed disappointment at the light sentences handed down to two of the defendants.
“It’s really an insult,” he said at the time. He complained Ingram would probably only get probation for his role.
“I don’t know who those hoodlums are,” Favors insisted.