Kidnapping "mastermind" in custody

By Betty Simpson |

Published 02/17 2014 12:35PM

Updated 02/17 2014 06:22PM

PAXTON -- A fourth suspect has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping and attempted extortion of an area businessman. Manuel Samano-Santoyo, of Chicago, faces charges of armed robbery, kidnapping and aggravated battery.

Authorities say Samano-Santoyo was the mastermind behind the December kidnapping of Joel Hastings, general manager of Nexstep Commercial Products. Samano-Santoyo was arrested Friday evening at his home and transported to the Ford County Jail Sunday.

Evigan Marcos, Rodolfo Cerritos and Eduardo Samano were arrested in January. Police say they kidnapped, beat and robbed Hastings, then threatened to kill him if he didn't give them more money.

Multiple law enforcement agencies are involved in the case including the FBI, US Marshals and Homeland Security. Authorities say there's reason to believe Samano-Santoyo is an illegal immigrant.

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