Bryan Conley

Bryan Conley

For NDL

A suspect is in custody and charged in a criminal complaint with threatening interstate communication after attempting to ransom the parents of a woman from Tennessee, announced United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman.

“Swift and safe resolution of this case is a reminder that Kentuckians and Tennesseans are protected by the finest law enforcement agencies in the nation,” stated Coleman.

According to a criminal complaint filed in District Court, on Jan. 29, 2019, the Brentwood Police Department, located in Brentwood, Tenn. received a phone call from M.W. indicating her daughter, R.W. had been kidnapped. Bryan Conley was using R.W.’s phone and texting M.W. ordering her to pay a ransom of $20,000 for her daughter’s release.

Conley told R.W.’s mother to begin driving to Toledo, Ohio, where she would receive another phone call. Conley threatened to sell, rape and kill R.W. if D.W. did not comply with his demands.

The defendant sent D.W. a “proof of life” photograph of D.W. at approximately 10 p.m. CST, which depicted R.W. inside of a vehicle with binding around her mouth. The photo was reviewed and the vehicle was determined to be consistent with a 2013-2018 Ford Taurus SE. The ransom was eventually negotiated down to $400 and some jewelry, and it was agreed that the father of R.W. would begin traveling towards Toledo, Ohio to drop off the ransom.

The morning of Jan. 29, 2019, an unidentified user attempted to access R.W.’s bank account, the individual correctly provided R.W.’s social security number but was unable to correctly answer the security questions. Later that morning there was a successful login to R.W.’s bank account via her telephone number. The bank provided the telephone number associated with the first attempt which was registered to Bryan Conley’s wife in Clarksville, Tenn. Investigators learned through an NCIC query that Conley’s wife has a gray 2014 Ford Taurus registered in her name. Further investigation revealed the two telephones were in close proximity.

Conley texted the phone of R.W.’s daughter “one more lie she’s dead,” at approximately 2:25 p.m. CST on Jan. 30, 2019, while FBI Special Agents were located with the father in Tennessee. Location information from the cellular carrier placed R.W.’s phone in the vicinity of Hopkinsville, Ky.

At 3:30 p.m. CST the ransom payment was delivered behind a dumpster at the Flying J Travel Center in Oak Grove, Ky. At approximately 5 p.m. CST, Federal Bureau of Investigation Louisville Division observed Bryan Conley retrieve the ransom payment, then enter a Ford Taurus and leave the gas station. FBI agents followed Conley to a gas station in Leitchfield, Ky. Conley was arrested at the gas station by FBI Special Agents who removed R.W.’s phone from his possession. After the arrest R.W. was found in the Ford Taurus.

Conley is currently in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. A preliminary detention hearing is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2019, in Owensboro, Ky.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Judd, and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Louisville, Memphis, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Cleveland Offices with the assistance of Brentwood Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Louisville Metro Police Department, Kentucky State Police, Bullitt County Sheriff’s Office, Elizabethtown Police Department, Shepherdsville Police Department, Leitchfield Police Department, Clarksville Police Department, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.