Illinois: A Brutal Ransom Game

A Brutal Ransom Game

When a publicity-hungry guerrilla gang kidnaped miner Scott Royden Heimdal near the Colombia-Ecuador border last April and demanded a $1.5 million ransom, his family in Peoria, Ill., despaired: the sum was utterly beyond its reach. Then Marge and Roy Heimdal heard that the kidnapers had cut the ransom to $60,000, and issued an appeal for help. Over the next four days, all Peoria joined in a frantic campaign to raise the cash. Children sold lemonade; retirees held bake sales.

Heartened and hopeful, the Heimdals dispatched the money to Ecuador. Last week the kidnapers sent word that they considered the $60,000 as...

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