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Hartselle Enquirer
Special to the Enquirer

Hartselle man faces attempted kidnapping charges  

Special to the Enquirer  

A federal grand jury Jan. 26 charged a Hartselle man with attempted kidnapping and attempted sexual assault.  

According to U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr., a two-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Matthias Jacob Edward Mann, 22, of Hartselle, with attempted kidnapping and coercion and enticement. 

“Over the course of a week, law enforcement moved swiftly to identify the defendant and victim. Federal and local authorities from four different states worked together to investigate and arrest this defendant and derail a dangerous online plot,” Escalona said.  

“The internet is a tool that provides many opportunities for communication and connectivity but also gives predators an easy way to access potential victims,” Escalona added. “One never knows who is lurking behind the keyboard. It is always important to exercise caution and protect your privacy in online forums.”  

According to court documents, Dec. 29, 2021, an undercover detective with the Owatonna, Minnesota Police Department was monitoring the public Kik group “Abduction and R@pe 3.” During that time, the Kik User “Dylan H.,” who was determined to be Mann, posted in the group, asking for someone to abduct and sexually assault a woman from Wisconsin. The undercover detective responded and told Dylan H. that he was in Minnesota and would be interested. 

Dec. 30, 2021, the undercover detective recorded a telephone conversation with Mann. On the call, Mann confirmed his request for the abduction and sexual assault of the victim was not a fantasy. Mann provided the undercover detective with photos and a physical address of the victim, who he stated was a former friend.   

Mann requested a video to confirm the abduction and sexual assault were carried out as requested.   

During their subsequent conversations, Mann agreed to pay the undercover detective gas money to travel to Wisconsin from Minnesota and approximately $2,000 once the abduction and sexual assault had been completed.  

Mann paid the undercover detective $75 Jan. 5.  

Federal agents arrested Mann on the morning of Jan. 6, 2022, in Hartselle.  

The maximum penalty for attempted kidnapping and attempted coercion and enticement is 20 years in prison. 

The FBI investigated the case, along with the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force; Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Police Department; Owatonna, Minnesota Police Department; and FBI–Atlanta Division.  

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Hodge and John Hundscheid are prosecuting the case. 

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