Unsealed search warrant: Police attempted sting in southwest Ohio kidnapping case

A search warrant from July 2019 that was unsealed Wednesday by a federal magistrate revealed that Dayton Police attempted to conduct a sting by setting up a drop with alleged kidnappers of Kwasi Casey.

The search warrant said the drop went wrong when a store owner picked up the empty bag instead and the kidnappers were alerted that police were involved.

Authorities eventually found Casey’s remains in September 2019 in a Dayton garage on Fountain Avenue that had burned to the ground in a fire considered to be suspicious. The remains were identified Oct. 12, 2019, as Casey by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Five men have been federally charged in the kidnapping conspiracy, according to United States prosecutors. They are Eric Blackshear, Markale Thomas, Devon Love, Ryan Reese and Antoine Dye.

The search warrant affidavit is written by a special agent with FBI. It says the FBI and Dayton Police worked together to investigate the kidnapping and abduction of Casey, which took place at around 7:30 p.m. July 7, 2019.

The search warrant says Dayton Police responded to Casey’s address on the 2000 block of Hilary Avenue for a report of a kidnapping.

“Upon arrival, DPD homicide detectives learned through a witness, who was with Casey at the time of the abduction, that Casey was abducted outside of his residence while walking to his vehicle from the residence,” the search warrant says. “The witness stated that she observed a red car pull up in front of the residence on Hillary and stop. Witness further observed the passenger exit the red vehicle. Witness observed the passenger display a silver handgun. At this time, the witness fled into a nearby woods and lost sight of Casey. Once witness returned, witness observed what appeared to be blood near Casey’s vehicle.”

Investigators also observed blood, the search warrant says. A few hours later, a family member began receiving a series of phone calls from a cellular device demanding money in exchange for Casey, the search warrant says.

“During these calls, the caller ... stated that they would kill Casey if their demands were not complied with,” the warrant says.

The kidnappers demanded $80,000 be placed under a street light in front of a business on West Hillcrest Avenue, according to the affidavit.

“DPD homicide detectives arranged for the money drop by placing an empty bag at the location requested by the kidnappers. Shortly thereafter, an individual approached the business, picked up the bag and entered the business. DPD homicide detectives later learned that this individual was the store owner. Subsequent to the store owner taking the bag into the business, kidnappers called Casey’s family member and (stated) that they observed the store owner pick up the bag. Kidnappers stated they were aware that the family involved the police and the kidnappers hung up the phone.”

Dayton police were able to get a ping that told officers the calls were coming from the greater Dayton area, but not an exact location, the search warrant says.

In a prosecutor’s press release announcing the indictment of the five people, it said, “Mr. Casey was taken to one of the defendant’s homes, where he was held against his will and beaten with a baseball bat.”

“The indictment details that Casey escaped on July 8, 2019, but was recaptured and forced into a co-conspirator’s minivan, where the victim was again physically assaulted. It is alleged Mr. Casey ultimately died as a result of the defendants’ actions,” prosecutors said.

The men are due back in court on Jan. 6 for a scheduling conference.