Kidnapping suspect captured after shedding ankle monitor in Kentucky, FBI says

A man wanted by the FBI was found in Ohio after he cut off his ankle monitor while awaiting trial on charges he kidnapped a woman and sought ransom from her parents.

Brian D. Conley, 36, was captured in Ada, Ohio, Saturday night, according to the FBI. A “concerned citizen” contacted the FBI office in Louisville about an encounter with Conley. The Hardin County, Ohio, sheriff’s office found him.

Conley took off his ankle monitoring device on Interstate 65 near Smiths Grove on Friday, the same day he was to appear in U.S. District Court. Conley was indicted in early June on charges including kidnapping, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate threats. He had been released while awaiting trial and ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.

In January, Conley allegedly used a fake name and a stock photo on an online dating site to “decoy” a woman to meet him near Dover, Tenn. He then persuaded her that he was a modeling agent, according to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky on June 4.

On Jan. 29, he allegedly met the woman in a Kroger parking lot in Shepherdsville under the guise of meeting her for a “modeling photography shoot.”

Then, court records say, he persuaded her to drink “a sports drink,” and the woman fell asleep afterward.

While driving around with the woman, Conley ultimately told her that he was an undercover law enforcement officer and that she couldn’t go home because she was the target of a human trafficking ring.

In the meantime, he used her phone to send threatening messages to her parents in Tennessee, telling them she was being held in Ohio and that they would have to pay a ransom to ensure her safety, the indictment states.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court says that Conley sent messages such as “you listen or I send you pic of her body.” He also allegedly sent the parents a “proof of life photograph” showing the woman in a vehicle “with what appeared to be binding material around her mouth.”

The court records state that a paper bag containing “a ransom payment of $400 and jewelry” provided by the woman’s parents was dropped off behind a garbage bin at a travel center in Oak Grove on Jan. 30.

FBI agents watched Conley pick up the payment, then followed him to a gas station in Leitchfield, where he was arrested, according to court records. The woman was in his car at the time of the arrest.

After he removed the ankle monitor Friday, the FBI obtained a federal arrest warrant and released his photo and information to the public. He was thought to be in a 2008 gray Ford Fusion with a Texas plate.

Karla Ward is a native of Logan County who has worked as a reporter at the Herald-Leader for 18 years. She covers breaking news.