Danielle Taylor Kidnapping, prank ends in kidnapping charges

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Danielle Taylor Kidnapping

A group of friends who are accused of abducting a teenage girl, binding her up, and staging her mock burial maintain that their only motivation was to create a horror movie in the vein of The Blair Witch Project.

However, according to the prosecution, the victim of the March 6 videotaped encounter, who was unaware of the prank, found it to be all too real.

On the recording, one of the suspected kidnappers says, “We are burying you alive.” “You’re going to pass away.”

A group of young people who frequent each other’s company in Flint are accused: Jonathon H. Cockerill, 20, Travis A. Payea, 20, Christina Lumm, 19, James Carwile, 19, and Derek Faxlinger, 18. Cockerill, one of the group members, has enrolled in a community college to study filmmaking.

According to the companions, the encounter was just a practical joke that they intended to make into a movie. However, everyone is currently awaiting trial on kidnapping and assault charges, and under Michigan law, they could potentially be sentenced to anything from seven to nine years to life in prison. While the four others are being held in jail on a $500,000 bond, Faxlinger is free on bail.

The victim, 19-year-old Taco Bell server Danielle Taylor, was not aware that the entire incident was staged until the very end, according to Lapeer County Prosecutor Byron J. Konschuh. The group allegedly shovelled snow and dirt on Taylor after forcing her to sit in a grave they had dug, before helping her out and telling her the whole thing was a joke.

Taylor went back to the house where the incident began and retrieved the tape. When she brought it to the police, they charged the group with kidnapping and assault.

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