American television host David Letterman once faced a difficult moment after news emerged of plans by a painter to kidnap his then 16-month-old son for a $5 million ransom.
74-year-old David Letterman has enjoyed a stellar career as a show host and one of the standout names in his field. Unfortunately, Letterman's successful career meant his pockets quickly became a target for kidnappers.
In 2005, the TV personality's son became a target of a kidnapping plot. The kidnapper valued Letterman's son's life alongside his nanny for $5 million. Here is what happened.
A picture of David Letterman and the man who tried to kidnapp his kid and nanny, Kelly A. Frank | Photo: Twitter.com/KRTV Youtube.com/OWN
THE KIDNAP PLOT
Letterman and his then-girlfriend had law enforcement agents to thank for their swiftness in uncovering the plot to kidnap his 16-month-old son for a heavy ransom at the time.
The kidnap suspect was one of Letterman's employees Kelly A. Frank, who worked in his 2,700-acre ranch west of Choteau in north-central Montana.
Frank, who was 43-years-old at the time, explained to authorities that he had planned to kidnap the talk show host's son and demand a ransom.
David Letterman at the 92nd Street Y presents Senator Al Franken in conversation with David Letterman on May 30, 2017, in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
Frank also planned to kidnap the toddler's nanny to take care of Letterman's baby throughout the duration of the kidnap. Frank's scheme was discovered after he confided in an acquaintance.
According to reports, Frank had told the acquaintance that he was informed that the show host, Letterman, and his family would be visiting their Montana home. He also had access to the house where the baby slept.
The acquaintance quickly contacted the local police, informing them of the plot, and the following day, an unsuspecting Frank was arrested in the ranch while he was working.
Frank, who had had a brush with the law in 1999 for forcefully holding his girlfriend against her will, was charged with felony theft for overcharging the famous TV host for his work on his ranch.
Also, Frank was given a misdemeanor charge of obstruction for lying to an investigator about his failed plans alongside a felony solicitation charge. At the time, his bond was set at $600 000.
HIS FAMILY'S REACTION
Frank's father reportedly expressed shock over his son's arrest, noting that he could not imagine his son plotting such a crime. Also, Laurie Johnson, Frank's fiancée, came to his defense, remarking that he could not do a thing to hurt anyone.
She reportedly said her accused partner could have been joking when he opened up to his acquaintance. Frank's attorney also backed up the claim, adding that the accused did not harbor such thoughts even though he had such conversations with his friend.
SENTENCE AND PAROLE
After pleading guilty to the charges against him, Frank was sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Then, after serving for a while, Frank made headlines in 2007 for escaping with fellow inmate William Willcutt.
He was later caught and handed a further ten years sentence. Finally, in 2014, he got his first parole, but according to reports, he violated his parole, which landed him back in jail.
He was later granted second parole with the conditions stating that he goes through a minimum of six months in semi-restricted housing, no hunting activities and that he wears a GPS monitor for at least six months.
More than a decade after his first arrest, Frank found it difficult to stay out of trouble and was later arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault. He reportedly threatened to kill an individual after a brief argument.
As for Letterman, in 2015, the iconic show host retired after 33 years and 6,000 late night episodes between NBC's Late Night and CBS's Late Show. Yet, he remains one of the most beloved show hosts of all time.
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