Alabama man charged in online scheme to attempt kidnapping, sexual assault

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A federal grand jury on Wednesday charged a Hartselle man with attempted kidnapping and attempted sexual assault.

A two-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court, charges Matthias Jacob Edward Mann, 22, of Hartselle, with attempted kidnapping and coercion and enticement.

“Over the course of a week, law enforcement moved swiftly to identify the defendant and victim. Federal and local authorities from four different states worked together to investigate and arrest this defendant and derail a dangerous online plot,”  U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “The internet is a tool that provides many opportunities for communication and connectivity, but also gives predators an easy way to access potential victims. One never knows who is lurking behind the keyboard. It is always important to exercise caution and protect your privacy in online forums.”

According to court documents, on December 29, 2021, an undercover detective with the Owatonna, Minnesota Police Department was monitoring the public Kik group “Abduction and R@pe 3.” During that time, the Kik User “Dylan H.,” who was determined to be Mann, posted in the group, asking for someone to abduct and sexually assault a woman from Wisconsin. The undercover detective responded and told Dylan H. that he was in Minnesota and would be interested.

On December 30, 2021, the undercover detective recorded a telephone conversation with Mann. On the call, Mann confirmed that his request for the abduction and sexual assault of the victim was not a fantasy. Mann provided the undercover detective with photos and a physical address of the victim, who he stated was a former friend.  Mann requested a video to confirm that the abduction and sexual assault was carried out as requested.  During their subsequent conversations, Mann agreed to pay the undercover detective gas money to travel to Wisconsin from Minnesota, and approximately $2,000.00 once the abduction and sexual assault had been completed. Mann paid the undercover detective $75 on January 5th.

Federal agents arrested Mann on the morning of January 6, 2022, in Hartselle, Alabama.

The maximum penalty for attempted kidnapping and attempted coercion and enticement is twenty years in prison.

The FBI investigated the case along with the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Police Department; Owatonna, Minnesota Police Department; and FBI (Atlanta Division).  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Hodge and John Hundscheid are prosecuting the case.

An indictment contains only charges.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.