A Union man was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Monday by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, according to a press release by the county law enforcement agency.
Joey Cortner, 55, has been charged with two counts of second-degree kidnapping, both Class D felonies; one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, a Class D felony; two counts of armed criminal action, an unclassified felony; and unlawful use of a weapon, a Class E felony, according to electronic court records.
Deputies first began investigating this case Saturday evening when they were dispatched to assist the Union Fire Department with a suspicious fire on the 300 block of Echo Valley Road, according to the press release. There, deputies learned a shed had been set on fire, and a 55-year-old male resident was missing from the home. They then spoke to the mother of the missing male subject, who told them her vehicle was missing as well.
While investigating the incident, Franklin County 911 received a call of two subjects being held at gunpoint at a nearby residence, according to the release. Deputies responded to that address, and a couple there informed them of the suspect, who had reportedly been flourishing a “black semi-automatic handgun” near their barn. They reported he demanded a ride to the store while pointing the firearm at the couple and even threatened to take the female hostage. The suspect eventually fled on foot. No one was injured during the incident, the release said, and deputies identified the male suspect with the gun as the same male missing from the fire incident on Echo Valley Road.
A search of the surrounding area involving K-9 and drone technology was unable to locate the suspect, who was later identified as Cortner. According to the probable cause statement filed with the Franklin County Circuit Court clerk, authorities were able to recover more than $780 that belonged to Cortner in a small grove of trees just west of the alleged attempted kidnapping victims’ property.
Later on Monday, a deputy learned the suspect had returned to the home on Echo Valley Road, where detectives and deputies arrested him.
According to court records, when interviewed by deputies, Cortner said he “had no knowledge of the fire at his garage or anything for past week.” He also reportedly told deputies that “he was missing his memory from about the last week or so” and that he had used methamphetamine a few weeks ago.
Deputies reported that Cortner then stated he may have been drugged by someone because “everything was strange” and he hadn’t been able to sleep and had recent memory loss. He also told deputies that he had unconscious at “the river” locally for some time, according to the probable cause statement.
Cortner is currently being held at the Franklin County Jail. His bond is at $250,000 cash only. A court date has not been scheduled in this case, according to electronic court records.