Man accused of orchestrating elaborate kidnapping plot appears in court

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A man who prosecutors say is behind the kidnapping of two Indianapolis teenagers was in court Monday.

You might remember getting that amber alert on your phone in March 2015, when Aaron and Emma Blackwell were taken from their Indianapolis home. John Thomas is the Detroit man prosecutors believe orchestrated the violent kidnappings of the teens

Police believe Thomas came to Indianapolis looking for his girlfriend, Aaron and Emma’s older sister, Whitney. Thomas claims Whitney Blackwell stole $120,000, cocaine and pills from his Detroit home. Prosecutors believe he took the teens when he couldn’t find Whitney and held them for ransom.

“They had told me they’d cut my little sister’s fingers off, you could hear her screaming in the background. I felt so bad because all that happened because of me,” said Whitney Blackwell in a jailhouse interview in 2015.

Blackwell insisted her boyfriend’s claims are false.

“I didn’t take all the money they said I took and I did not take the drugs. I only took some of the money and I left a lot of it there,” she said.

In a frantic, 24 hour, multi-state search for the teen siblings, Aaron was ultimately found tied up in the back of an SUV in Detroit. His fingers, prosecutors say, were cut dangerously deep from accomplices torturing the 16-year-old. His sister, Emma was taken first to Kentucky. Then the 13-year-old was dropped all alone at a Taco Bell in Ohio and given money to take a cab back home to Indy.

“It’s so dangerous, I’d rather be in jail than be out there where he can find me. I’m scared in here,” said Whitney Blackwell.

Blackwell took to the stand late Monday. The trial will likely last two weeks.