One of our favorite running gags from Arrested Development took a horrifically literal turn yesterday when three Lincoln County family members and an accomplice were charged for fake-kidnapping a six-year-old boy in order to teach him a lesson about stranger danger.
According to police, the masterminds behind the four-hour staged kidnapping were the unnamed child's mother, 25-year-old Elizabeth Hupp, grandmother, 58-year-old Rose Brewer, and aunt, 38-year-old Denise Kroutil. Kroutil also enlisted help of one her gas station coworkers, 23-year-old Nathan Wynn Firoved, telling him that she wanted to "scare" her nephew because he was "too nice."
On February 2, police say Firoved waited for the child's school bus to drop him off and then lured the kid into his pickup truck. Once inside, Firoved told him that he would never "see his mommy again," and that he would be "nailed to the wall of a shed."
Naturally, the child began to cry, which is when Firoved brandished a handgun at the bawling tot and told him he would get hurt if he didn't stop crying. When that failed to calm the boy, police say Firoved bound the kid's hands and feet and threw an adult-sized jacket over his head so he couldn't see.
After more driving around, Firoved dropped the bound and blindfolded child at his family's home, depositing him in the basement. Then it was Kroutil's turn to terrify the boy. She removed his pants and, when he didn't resist, angrily told him he could be sold into "sex slavery." (The boy didn't recognize her voice, reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch.)
During the entire ordeal, the three family members and Firoved remained in contact by cellphone, police say.
After an undetermined amount of time in the basement, the child's bindings and blindfold were removed and he was told to go upstairs. There, his family lectured him about keeping away from strangers.
However, the boy seemed to learn a different a lesson -- that his family is batshit crazy. After telling a school official about his strange journey on Wednesday, police and the Division of Family Services got involved. The boy was placed into protective custody and and police opened an investigation. Officers later seized two handguns from Firoved's truck.
The four co-conspirators were charged Thursday and all being housed at the Lincoln Lincoln County Jail under a $250,000 bond. Firoved, Brewer, and Kroutil were charged with Felony Kidnapping, Felonious Restraint, and Felony Abuse and Neglect of a Child. Hupp, the boy's mother, was charged with Felony Kidnapping, Felony Abuse and Neglect of a Child.
According to police, the family members told investigators they simply wanted educate the tyke and felt they did nothing wrong.