ST. LOUIS – St. Louis entrepreneur Todd Beckman is now serving 20 years for kidnapping. A federal judge sentenced him in February, along with three other men who got less time.
The men said they were trying to recover $15,000 and 24 pounds of marijuana. No one’s heard from the young man they kidnapped – until now. “It ran though my head 100 times. ‘What do I do?’ ‘How do I get out of this?’ ‘They’re going to kill me,’” said Ellis Athanas III.
Athanas admits he was a lower level drug dealer and owed money. On November 21, 2016, Blake and Caleb Laubinger beat and kidnapped Athanas from his home on a quiet Maplewood street. They drove him down I-44 towards Pacific when Athanas said he tried to escape.
“I jumped into the front seat and started kicking Blake to try and crash the car. There was a semi right next to us and I heard it just lay on its horn,” he said.
Athanas said they came feet from a guardrail. Ellis thought he’d more likely survive a 70 mile-an-hour crash then he would his kidnappers.
“I had to do something. I remember going over a bridge and I was like – should I do