Another Man Arrested in Venango County Kidnapping Case

| March 5, 2019

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – Another man has been arrested in connection to a Venango County kidnapping the occurred in January.

According to court documents, on February 27, the Franklin Police Department filed the following criminal charges against 26-year-old Wesley Lott Huey, of Oil City, in Magisterial District Judge Matthew T. Kirtland’s office:

– Conspiracy – Kidnap To Inflict Injury/Terror, Felony 1
– Conspiracy – Burglary – Overnight Accommodations; Person Present, Bodily Injury Crime, Felony 1
– Conspiracy – Criminal Trespass-Enter Structure, Felony 3
– Conspiracy – Riot-Intent To Commit Felony, Felony 3
– Conspiracy – Terroristic Threats W/Intent To Terrorize Another, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Unlawful Restraint/Serious Bodily Injury, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Stalking – Repeatedly Commit Acts To Cause Fear, Misdemeanor 1
– Conspiracy – Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – False Imprisonment, Misdemeanor 2
– Conspiracy – Coerce/Threat To Commit Crime, Misdemeanor 2

The charges stem from a kidnapping that happened on Wednesday, January 23, at Oak Hill Apartments in Franklin.

Charges were filed against Drake Shoemaker on January 7 and Keith Harper on January 29.

Franklin Police Department Receive Report of Kidnapping

According to a criminal complaint, on Wednesday, January 23, around 7:50 p.m., Franklin Police Officers were dispatched to Oak Hill Apartments located at 10 Taylor Street, in Franklin, to make contact with a female complainant. The complainant reported that her boyfriend had been abducted from their apartment by three men.

Patrolman Barnes Interviews Man at Apartment

Patrolman Barnes arrived on the scene and conducted an interview with a known man who stated that he had come to visit his children who live at Oak Hill Apartments with their mother. The children’s mother is the sister of the victim.

The known man stated that his girlfriend drove him to the Oak Hill apartment, and he and his girlfriend arrived at the apartment around 7:00 p.m. The man was inside visiting his kids when his girlfriend knocked on the door. She stated that two unknown men approached her vehicle and began pounding on the window. The unidentified men were demanding to know where (the victim) was.

The known man said that he exited the apartment and confronted the two men. The known man’s ex-wife followed him outside. One of the men was Drake Shoemaker, according to the known man.

The two men again stated they were looking for (the victim) and demanded to know where he was.

The victim’s sister stated that she didn’t even know who (the victim) was.

Drake Shoemaker responded by stating “Bull****, you’re his sister.”

Both Shoemaker and the unknown man stated that the victim had stolen a package, and if he didn’t return it, people were going to die. The unknown man also stated that “he had just gotten out of prison for murder, and the victim or they could be next.” The known man said that after their threats got them nowhere, both suspects got into a black Chrysler 200 with a third male driver and left the area.

The known man reported that he attempted to call the victim, but he received no answer, so he called the victim’s girlfriend and advised her of what happened. He stated that approximately 45 minutes after he spoke to the victim’s girlfriend and after he left the area, the victim’s girlfriend called him and reported that Shoemaker and an unknown man had just kidnapped the victim.

Victim’s Girlfriend Interviewed

An interview was then conducted with the victim’s girlfriend. She reported that she was on her way back to the apartment with her younger siblings when she got a call from the known man stating that Shoemaker and two other men were at Oak Hill Apartments looking for the victim and threatening to kill him. She said that when she got home at approximately 7:10 p.m., she took the kids into the apartment and locked the doors. She was unable to get in touch with the victim because he left his phone at the house when he left for work.

She then told officers that the victim arrived home from work around 7:15 p.m., and she explained to him what she had been told by the known man. She explained that after approximately 10 minutes of discussing the situation, they heard a knock on the door. One of the kids unlocked and opened the door believing it was a friend of theirs who had been staying with them. When the door was opened, Shoemaker and the unidentified man walked into the apartment without invitation. A verbal argument broke out.

The victim’s girlfriend told Patrolman Barnes that the unknown man told the victim to leave with them. but the victim refused. At that point, the unknown man made threats to assault him and the other occupants in the apartment. After threats were made to hurt the victim’s family, the victim surrendered and was pulled out of the apartment by the arm. She stated this was done by the unknown man.

She advised that she watched the victim, Drake Shoemaker, and the unknown man walk to a black Chrysler 200 which was parked in front of the apartment. She was not able to see the driver, and the victim was pushed into the back seat of the car. In addition, the unknown man demanded both her phone and the victim’s before they left. She then clarified that she had to use cell phones at another apartment to make subsequent calls.

Shoemaker and Victim Show Up at Oil City Police Department

At 8:53 p.m, Franklin Police Department received a phone call from the Oil City Police Department. They advised dispatch that the victim and Drake Shoemaker had just walked into the station and advised the victim had to contact the Franklin Police Department to let them know he was okay.

The Oil City Police Department was requested to hold the victim for the Franklin Police Department. Officer McConnell responded to the Oil City Police Department to verify that the victim was unharmed and then transport him back to the Franklin Police Department for questioning.

A short interview of Drake Shoemaker was conducted by Officer McConnell with Lieutenant Love of the Oil City Police Department present.

Shoemaker accused the victim’s girlfriend of being crazy and told Officer McConnell that she makes up things all the time when she doesn’t get her way. He denied any knowledge of a crime and stated that he and his cousin picked the victim up after he called and asked them to.

He said the victim and the victim’s girlfriend were fighting, and the victim wanted to get away from her. He said that he can’t drive, so his cousin took him up. Then, they left and took the long way to Oil City to drop the victim off at another buddy’s house.

Shoemaker provided a written statement to Officer McConnell around 9:25 p.m. on January 23.

Victim Interviewed at Franklin Police Department

Officer McConnell and the victim arrived at the Franklin Police Department at 9:41 p.m. at which time the victim was placed in the interview room. He was initially questioned by Detective Saragian and McConnell. During the initial questioning, the victim told officers that he and his girlfriend had been in a fight due to her taking money from his wallet without asking. He said that he called his buddy Drake Shoemaker to pick him up, so he could get away from her.

Around 10:10 p.m. officers discussed the evidence with the victim, and he admitted and confirmed that he had been abducted via threats of force. He confirmed that Drake Shoemaker and an unknown man entered his apartment and a verbal argument broke out. He said the unknown man demanded that he leave with them to figure things out. When he stated he wasn’t going, the unknown man became aggressive. The victim told officers that he agreed to leave with Shoemaker and the other man to get them away from his family.

He stated that they walked to the car, and he sat in the back seat behind the driver. Shoemaker sat in the back seat next to him, and the unknown man sat in the front passenger seat. The victim identified the driver as Keith D. Harper.

The victim told officers that once in the car, the unidentified man pulled out a pocket knife and began to brandish it in his direction. The man tapped his knee with the blade from the front seat multiple times in order to coerce him into calling his girlfriend and asking about a missing package.

He also reported that the unknown man and Harper talked back and forth and made statements about things getting crazy and people getting their throats cut. The statements were not made to him, but he knew they were about him, according to the victim.

He said that after officers became involved in the situation, Harper and the unknown man dropped him and Shoemaker off in Oil City near the North Side Country Fair. They were told to walk to the Oil City Police Department, and the unknown man supplied him with the cover story to tell police.

A follow-up investigation which included interviews of all witnesses and victims, as well as Harper, led to the identification of Wesley Lott Huey as the third male suspect in the case.

Patrolman Banes took significant investigative steps to verify the involvement prior to filing charges, according to the complaint.

Huey Arraigned, Jailed, Awaiting Preliminary Hearing

Huey was arraigned at 4:15 p.m. on March 3 in front of Judge Kirtland.

Unable to post $50,000.00 monetary bail, he was lodged in the Venango County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on March 13 with Judge Kirtland presiding.

Shoemaker Awaits Preliminary; Harper’s Case Moves to Common Pleas Court

Shoemaker is awaiting a preliminary hearing.

Harper is lodged in the Venango County Jail on $50,000.00 bail; his case has been transferred to the Venango County Court of Common Pleas.


Franklin Man Connected to Venango County Kidnapping Case Waives Hearing

One Arraigned, One at Large in Venango County Kidnapping

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