A jail inmate in Michigan tipped off investigators to a group of suspected pedophiles allegedly behind a craven kidnapping and rape plot targeting a child.
MLive.com obtained investigative documents revealing that four suspects had planned to kidnap a child at one of three upcoming county fairs in Michigan, or possibly target a potential victim at a parade, in the summer of 2018.
Matthew Toole, 32; David Bailey, 37; Talia Furman, 32; and Jayme LaPoint, 19, were all charged in September with multiple conspiracy counts, including conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
An investigation found that the suspects allegedly planned to sexually assault and torture the kidnapped child before killing them. According to the police report obtained by MLive.com, which indicates the suspects were planning to kidnap a girl, they hoped “she would still be alive” after the torture and sexual assault.
“They would then start a fire and put the child in a burning barrel and put the child in it alive to be burned.”
Investigators reportedly built their case based on witness accounts, cell phone data showing that the suspects had images of child pornography on their phones, as well as text messages that implicated the suspects in a kidnap plot. According to the documents obtained by MLive.com, an unidentified jail inmate told police in May that he had seen a video of a child engaged in a sexual act on Toole’s phone a month earlier, when he met up with Toole and Furman, Toole’s girlfriend. The witness claimed that Toole said he planned on having sex with the girl in the video once she turned 9 years old.
When police went to Toole and Furman’s home to question them, they reportedly found suspected methamphetamine, and seized the drug evidence along with electronic devices including phones and laptops. Investigators found evidence of both Toole and Furman engaging in sexual acts with children on the devices, as well as a video of an infant being sexually assaulted that one of the suspects sent to a contact in a text message.
Investigators also found text messages that appeared to reference a kidnapping plot.
“Anything at this point. Lol. I seriously contemplated pistol whipping a woman and snatching her daughter at the store last night,” read one of the messages in the police report.
After they kidnapped the child, the suspects reportedly planned to take the victim to a rented cabin in Indiana or norther Michigan, where they allegedly planned to carry out the heinous attack. After the child had been killed, the suspects reportedly said they would crush the child’s teeth and bones before setting a fire at the cabin.
All four suspects are expected to go to trial next month, though it is not yet determined if they will be tried separately or together. If the suspects are tried separately, some trial dates may be rescheduled, according to the Mlive.com report.
If convicted of the charges, the suspects could face life in prison.
[Feature image: Talia Furman, Matthew Toole/Michigan State Police]