A Kentucky man accused of posing as a modeling agent to kidnap a woman and then shaking down her parents for ransom with terrifying threats has absconded, according to a new court filing.
Federal prosecutors said in a request for an emergency arrest warrant that Bryan Conley slipped off the electronic monitoring device he was required to wear as a condition of his release.
Conley, 36, was arrested in January on charges of making threats across state lines after investigators unraveled his hare-brained abduction scheme. But this month, a charge of kidnapping was added in a superseding indictment.
The court record shows that Conley did not appear in federal court for an arraignment on the new indictment the day before the request for a warrant. His public defender and prosecutors could not be reached for comment.
The indictment alleges that Conley targeted the victim, a woman identified only as R.W., on the dating app Plenty of Fish (which is owned by IAC, which also owns The Daily Beast).
Using a bogus picture of a male model and the alias Lance De Beers, he arranged to meet the woman in Tennessee in January. When she showed up, Conley claimed he was Lance’s agent and told the woman she could also be a model, the indictment says.
Over the next several days, Conley persuaded the woman to meet with him several times for modeling-related activities and with promises of making contact with the fictional Lance, according to the court papers.
He allegedly gave her a drink that knocked her out and then used her phone to send increasingly threatening ransom demands to her parents, along with a photo that showed their daughter bound and gagged and covered with a blanket in the back of a car.
“You have ten minutes to be on road or I sell her ass,” the kidnapper demanded of the parents.
“You listen or I send you pic of her body.”
“She will be missing fingers and toes if you don’t hurry the fuck up.”
When R.W. woke up, Conley allegedly convinced her that he and Lance were law-enforcement officials who were protecting her from a human-trafficking ring.
Although prosecutors alleged that Conley demanded $20,000, the family negotiated the ransom down to $400 and jewelry and agreed to bring it to him.
The parents had already contacted law enforcement, which followed a string of clues Conley had left: He tried to log into the victim’s bank account from a number registered to his wife, and her car matched the vehicle in the “proof of life” photo he sent the parents, according to court documents.
When the parents left the ransom payment behind a dumpster at the Flying J Travel Center in Oak Grove, Kentucky, agents were staked out and allegedly saw Conley retrieve it about 90 minutes later.
They tailed him to a gas station, where he was arrested. The daughter was also found in the Ford Taurus, the complaint said.