Feds charge man with kidnapping of Vermonter found dead
A Colorado man has been charged with kidnapping a Vermont man whose body was found by the side of the road in Barnet, federal court records say.
Jerry Banks, 34, of Fort Garland, Colorado, was arrested Wednesday in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, where he was working, the Vermont office of the United States attorney said in a press release Friday.
According to an affidavit, FBI investigators used cell phone and automobile records to link Banks to the early 2018 kidnapping of a Gregory Davis, 49, of Danville, Vermont. The FBI affidavit does not offer a motive for the kidnapping.
The complaint against Banks was filed March 30 of this year and unsealed Thursday after his arrest.
It could not immediately be determined if Banks has an attorney.
In a news release, the Vermont office of the U.S. Attorney said Banks appeared in federal court in Wyoming on Thursday and will appear again in federal court there before he is ordered to appear in Vermont.
“Although Banks is not charged with Davis’s murder, the complaint affidavit contains allegations that Banks murdered Davis,” the press release says.
Davis was found shot to death on Jan. 7, 2018, in a snowbank in Barnet, the Vermont State Police reported at the time.
The affidavit says that about 15 minutes before the Jan. 6, 2018, kidnapping, a 911 call was made to Vermont authorities from a North Danville cell tower within a mile of Davis’ home.
The 911 caller claimed to have shot his wife and was going to shoot himself. Police were unable to locate the address provided by the caller.
In investigating the death, Vermont State Police learned that someone claiming to be a U.S. Marshal went to Davis’ Danville home to arrest him, said the affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Patrick Hanna on March 30.
Davis’ wife described the man as having handcuffs, a rifle and wearing a mask and jacket that had a U.S. Marshal’s emblem. Their 12-year-old son told investigators the man drove a white, four-door car with red and blue emergency lights on the dash.
The man told Davis he had an arrest warrant for racketeering for him from Virginia. They went away together.
Investigators learned that the 911 call dialed near Davis’ home was made from a phone that had been purchased the day before at a Walmart in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Security images showed the man later identified as Banks drive away in a vehicle similar to that reported by the victim’s family.
The investigators found a Colorado driver’s license for Banks, which gave an address in Fort Garland.
The FBI used cell phone data to link the phone purchased in Pennsylvania to Danville. The investigators also tracked another phone linked to Banks as it traveled east from Colorado to Vermont, including a stop in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.
Searches of a third phone found linked to Banks showed he searched for information about Vermont and the purchase of a used police-type vehicle similar to that used in the kidnapping and police equipment.
On Jan. 7, the day after the kidnapping, Banks was tracked traveling back west. On Jan. 8, he was stopped by the Kansas Highway Patrol on Interstate 70 in Alma.
The trooper who made the stop described Banks as extremely nervous and said the vehicle contained multiple law enforcement items, including a gun, tactical vest and other equipment.