- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The sister of two Indianapolis teenagers who were kidnapped after she stole from her ex-boyfriend says he was abusive and she needed the money to get herself and her 6-year-old son away from him.

Whitney Blackwell, 27, is being held in Marion County Jail on a count of conspiracy to deal cocaine. Speaking from jail Wednesday, she said she regrets having put her younger siblings in danger.

“I put my whole family’s life in danger and I just wanted to leave so I would be OK,” Blackwell told WTHR-TV. “… Now I’ve endangered my whole family. At first the only danger was to me and my kid. I just didn’t want him to hurt my baby.”

Authorities allege that Blackwell’s ex-boyfriend, John Thomas, orchestrated the abduction of her 16-year-old brother and 13-year-old sister on Monday in order to force Blackwell to return money and drugs she allegedly stole from their Detroit home. They say several armed men kicked in the door of the children’s Indianapolis home and took them at gunpoint back to Detroit.

Federal prosecutors say Whitney Blackwell stole $120,000, 4,000 OxyContin pills and a kilogram of cocaine from Thomas, who they allege is a drug dealer. Blackwell said she only took $43,000.

According to prosecutors, the kidnappers called the teens’ family at least eight times and told them to bring the missing money to Miami within 24 hours. In one call, they threatened to “chop the kids’ fingers off” if the money was not delivered.

Blackwell said she could hear her sister screaming in the background during one call.

“I felt so bad because all that happened because of me,” she told The Indianapolis Star.

Detroit police rescued the boy, who was bound and blindfolded, from an SUV after a Monday evening chase. Authorities said the girl was taken to Ohio, dropped off at a restaurant and given $200 to take a taxi back to Indianapolis, where she was found at her home Tuesday.

The authorities arrested Thomas and five other people. All six are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and appeared for an initial hearing Wednesday in a Detroit federal court.

Acting U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said the six defendants will be moved to Indianapolis, but had not been transferred as of Thursday morning.

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