Man Gives Reward To Kidnapping Victim

A man who helped a teenager after she escaped from her kidnappers has decided to give his reward money to her family. Earl Melchert said that Jasmine Block and her family deserved the money more than him. The reward of $9,000 was being offered by the Alexandria Police Department.

Police say Ms. Block was held captive for nearly a month and was sexually and physically assaulted. Ms. Block escaped after 29 days and swam across a lake to get to other houses.

Ms. Block made it to other houses after escaping but no one answered when she knocked on the doors. The teenager continued looking for help and reached Mr. Melchert’s home. He says he first thought it was a deer.

After he opened he door, he realized that it was the girl that had been missing for 29 days. On Friday, the police offered him the reward money but he didn’t accept it.


Police say the teenager was kidnapped back in August by Thomas Barker. He asked her for help with a family situation and when they arrived home, he tied her up. Police say the man held her for four weeks and during that time, they say Barker and two other men sexually and physically assaulted her.

Ms. Block saw the opportunity to escape when the men left her alone to go buy food. She escaped from the abandoned house and began looking for help. Mr. Melchert was the first to find and help her after she escaped but he decided to give her and her family the reward money.

Mr. Melchert, who recently tired as a manager of a fertilizer plant, said it was the best thing he had ever done. He mentioned that it was a lot of money but that the family needed it way more than he did.