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Teens jailed for alleged Sullivan County abduction hoax, charged with extortion

Rain Smith • Oct 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM

KINGSPORT — Two teens have been arrested in Sullivan County after allegedly attempting to extort one of their family members, claiming an abduction had occurred and they needed $15,000 for safe release from their captor.

After approximately seven hours and multiple phone calls and text messages — which lowered the ransom price to $2,500 — a meeting place for the cash exchange was agreed upon. But police were waiting at the drop off along Eastern Star Road, taking both the scheming "kidnapper" and "victim" into custody.

They allegedly admitted to investigators they had been working in cahoots throughout the ordeal, with one suspect wanted for a similar incident which targeted an uncle the day before.

Jesse McClellan Robinson, 19, of 450 Fordtown Road, Kingsport, and Zachary T. Marshall, 19, of Russellville, Tenn., have been charged with extortion in the Wednesday incident. Just before 3 p.m. the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office received a call from Robinson's sister, with an affidavit describing her as, "very frightened."

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