Milwaukee teen allegedly kidnapped, beaten and held for ransom by friends’ brother

MILWAUKEE (WITI/CNN) - A 20-year-old Milwaukee man faces multiple charges in the alleged kidnapping of a 13-year-old boy for a $10,000 ransom. Prosecutors say several of the victim’s friends were also involved.

Isiah Pickens, 20, is accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old boy and faces several charges, including physical abuse of a child, robbery and false imprisonment. (Source: Wisconsin Department of Corrections)

Isiah Pickens, 20, made his initial appearance in court Tuesday. He is accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old boy and faces several charges, including physical abuse of a child, robbery and false imprisonment. His cash bond was set at $75,000.

The alleged victim and his mother told police that on Jan. 5, the teenager met up with his friends around 4 p.m. in Milwaukee.

About an hour later, the teen’s mother received a call from her son in which he said “he was kidnapped and duct-taped.”

At first, the mother thought the call was a joke and hung up, but a man called back from a blocked number and demanded $10,000 for her son’s release.

Police traced the call back to Pickens, the brother of two of the victim’s friends.

As officers searched for the 13-year-old, the brothers returned home, claiming they had also been kidnapped, but authorities say their stories and the evidence didn’t line up.

Roughly 10 hours after his mother last saw him, the 13-year-old victim was found by his grandmother, running near the Diamond Inn Motel.

The teenager later told police his friends and Pickens went to Walmart to get duct tape. They then drove to Graceland Cemetery, where the victim was allegedly bound with the tape and beaten. He says he was scared because the suspects had a gun.

Eventually, the 13-year-old was left alone in an SUV in front of the motel. He wiggled free from the tape and escaped, running until his grandmother found him.

The alleged crime happened a day before the victim's 14th birthday.

Pickens was arrested Jan. 17. One of his brothers allegedly told police that "Pickens set up the entire kidnapping for ransom scheme in hopes of obtaining money."

However, Pickens stated in an Jan. 18 interview with police that "he did not have any part in the kidnapping but that he knew about it."

The criminal complaint said the SUV allegedly used in the kidnapping was recovered outside the Diamond Inn. A Wisconsin Quest card with the name Isiah Pickens was found inside in addition to "a roll of silver duct tape, a roll of black electrical tape, a face mask, used electrical tape, used silver duct tape, white medical masks and white twine rope.”

Pickens is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 11.

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