Fayetteville, Arkansas – Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Theron Vance, age 22 of Rogers, was found guilty on one count of Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping and one count of Kidnapping, Aiding, and Abetting after a two day jury trial. The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks presided over the trial in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “The sheer terror that this victim faced at the hands of the defendants involved in this case is unimaginable. For four months they planned a methodical scheme that they then played out in order to keep her from testifying against one of them. We will not rest in our efforts to hold those that commit these violent crimes accountable so that the residents of the Western District of Arkansas can live in a community free from fear.”
“Vance is a criminal who conspired to kidnap and impersonated a FBI Agent while carrying out this violent act,” stated Special Agent in David T. Resch with the Little Rock FBI Field Office. “He has earned the consequences of his decisions, and we once again appreciate the U.S. Attorney’s steadfast pursuit of justice.”
According to evidence presented at the trial, On June 14, 2014, the Bentonville Police Department received a 911 call from an employee at the Walmart Supercenter that a woman had been kidnapped. Once officers arrived on scene they were able to determine the victim entered the restroom at Walmart and handed an employee a note informing them that she had been kidnapped from Dallas, Texas by her ex-boyfriend Michael Roberts. By the time officers arrived at Walmart, Roberts had fled the scene. According to an interview of the victim, the previous night between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. she was walking into her apartment in Dallas, Texas when she was attacked from behind by Michael Roberts and physically assaulted. The defendant, Theron Vance, was present and assisted Roberts by acting as the lookout. Roberts forced the victim into her apartment and began restraining and choking her when Vance entered the apartment and identified himself as an FBI agent. The victim was told she could either go with the two men or she would be killed. The victim cooperated and packed a bag with her belongings. She was also told to write a note to her roommate explaining her disappearance. She did so, but also left another note in the refrigerator that said “call 911.” The victim was then transported against her will to the Western District of Arkansas in Bentonville by Roberts and Vance. Prior to leaving the Dallas area, defendant Vance took the victim’s phone and broke it on the sidewalk, making it inoperable. On the way to Bentonville the victim advised they stopped in Eufaula, Oklahoma at a gas station, where she left another note in the restroom identifying the vehicle in which she was being transported (this note was later recovered by Oklahoma Police). The victim was brought to the defendant’s residence located at 807 Southwest Krug in Bentonville during the early morning hours of June 14th. Later that day the victim was taken to Walmart where the employee was notified that she had been kidnapped.
While interviewing the victim officers noted that her lip appeared to be busted on the inside of her mouth and she had a large bruise on her right forearm. According to the victim, she was told by Roberts and Vance that she had been kidnapped because they did not want her to testify against Roberts in a pending criminal case in Texas and that they were going to keep her until the proceedings were over. The victim was able to positively identify defendant Vance as one of the individuals that kidnapped her and transported her from Dallas, Texas to Bentonville, Arkansas against her will.
As the Bentonville Police Department was investigating the case, Detectives with the Dallas Police Department searched the victim’s apartment and located the two notes and also found a blood stain on the carpet. Bentonville Detectives then executed a search warrant at defendant Roberts’ residence, where they located the victim’s bloody clothing.
On June 16, 2014, defendant Vance was located and arrested. Subsequent to being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights he admitted his role in the kidnapping. Specifically, Vance admitted that approximately four months prior to the kidnapping that he and Roberts began planning; Vance admitted that a week prior to the abduction, he and Roberts drove to Dallas to scout the area; Vance admitted to wearing a fake FBI badge during the abduction and breaking the victim’s cell phone so they would not be tracked. In addition, Vance disclosed to investigators the location of several items used in the kidnapping, including a blonde wig, razor blades, zip ties and a book on human anatomy. These items were subsequently recovered by investigators. Furthermore, Vance’s vehicle was used to transport the victim from Texas to Arkansas.
Vance was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in August 14, 2014. Sentencing will be held at a later date. The maximum penalty for each count is Life in Prison or any term of years, not more than $250,000 fine, or both. The defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violations. The sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum for each count in this case, and in most cases will be less than the maximum.
The other two defendants involved in this case, Michael Roberts and Jason Pettit have both pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Bentonville Police Department, The Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Dallas Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney David Harris and Assistant United States Attorney Kim Davis prosecuted the case for the United States.