Four men, including one from Detroit, face felony charges in the kidnapping with apparent intent to ransom a 90-year-old man afflicted with senile dementia. The Detroit man was arraigned Saturday, two co-conspirators face arraignment Monday, and the fourth, whose name has not yet been released, should make his court appearance later this week.
With these events, the complete story about how the misbegotten plot began and quickly unraveled can be told, bearing in mind that the presumption of innocence applies to the four defendants.
The seeds of the conspiracy were sown because the victim loved a good doughnut. He began to appear at a doughnut shop owned by Alfred Khatter, 54. At some point, Khatter had become convinced that the elderly man, Floyd Edward Pickrell, was wealthy and, according to the police, Khatter wanted a piece of it.
When Khatter decided to act, Pickrell was a dementia patient at a nursing home called Regency Health Care, 12575 Telegraph Rd in Taylor. Police say Khatter recruited three other men: his son Ted Robert Tomes, 25, Darryl Howard, 50. of Detroit (photo at upper left), and a fourth man not yet named,
The action started last Monday, July 19, at about 10:30 PM, when two of the conspirators appeared at Regency Health Care. Their opening gambit was to request that Pickrell be released to have dinner with them. The staff declined to do so.
Plan B was simply to abscond with the patient. Surveillance cameras captured the scene when the two men boosted Pickrell over a wall enclosing the compound. Staff called the authorities the next day when they discovered Pickrell missing.
Locating the victim was a combination of good police work and a timely tip. Police arrested Howard on Friday morning. He was uncooperative when questioned by investigators, refusing to tell them where Pickrell could be found. But the elderly man’s sickly appearance led to the crucial tip.
Khatter and his son Tomes had initially installed Pickrell at the Harmony Hotel, but a note of dischord sounded Friday morning when the hotel manager decided Pickrell needed medical care and forced the three to leave. The two suspects and their captive simply moved a few blocks down Michigan Ave to a place called Your Motel. The Harmony manager took note of this.
When the manager saw a news report about the abduction, he called the police. They found Pickrell in good shape though confused, and they busted Khatter and Tomes. They arrested the fourth man Saturday.
Also on Saturday Detroiter Darryl Howard was arraigned in the 23rd district court on a charge of unlawful imprisonment. Bond was set at $100,000, which he was not able to make, so his is confined in the Wayne County Jail.
Khatter and Tomes have each been charged with unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy to commit unlawful imprisonment, and first and second-degree vulnerable adult abuse.
Pickrell was taken to a hospital for observation, but appears no worse for wear.
Darryl Howard will appear for a preliminary examination on August 1.