Former Walter Johnson Lacrosse Coach Faces Attempted Murder, Kidnapping Charges in Virginia
Prosecutors compare case to ‘the script of a bad horror movie’
Walter Johnson High School
A former Walter Johnson High School lacrosse coach is accused of being part of a failed conspiracy to kidnap five children in Virginia last year and kill their parents.
Gary Blake Reburn is one of four people accused of devising a plan to kidnap five children from two homes in Dayton, Va., southwest of Harrisonburg. One defendant pleaded guilty last week. Three others, including Reburn, are awaiting extradition from the United Kingdom.
Authorities say the plan involved Reburn, and his girlfriend, Valerie Hayes, along with another couple, Frank and Jennifer Amnott of Florida.
In July 2018, Hayes allegedly told the Amnotts that three of her children had been kidnapped and were being held by two families in a Mennonite community in Dayton. Hayes asked the Amnotts to help get her three children back, along with two others, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Virginia.
None of the children were Hayes’, according to prosecutors, nor did she have legal custody of any of the children involved.
Hayes knew the Amnotts could not conceive their own children and “promised if they helped Hayes kidnap the children, then the Amnotts could keep one of the other children as their own,” according to the news release.
The plan included killing the parents at both homes when they kidnapped the children, to eliminate witnesses, authorities said.
“Although the facts of this case read like the script of a bad horror movie, the defendants’ murderous plot was real and it posed a grave risk to their intended victims,” the release says.
On July 29, 2018, Hayes, Reburn and Frank Amnott traveled to Dayton, planning to kidnap the five children, all younger than 8 years old, and kill the parents and any witnesses.
Jennifer Amnott stayed in Maryland watching Hayes’ other children.
Hayes allegedly knocked on the door of the first home, dressed in clothing “to appear as a Mennonite.” A parent answered the door and the trio held the parent at gunpoint. A second parent ran out of the house, hid in a cornfield and called 911.
When police arrived, Hayes, still dressed in Mennonite clothing, claimed to be a neighbor. Police told Hayes and Reburn to leave with the parent. Hayes and Reburn dropped the parent off at a nearby convenience store.
The children were located unharmed, still in their bedroom.
Downstairs, Frank Amnott was found holding the first parent at gunpoint. He was arrested without incident, according to the news release.
Hayes and Reburn did not go to the second house as planned, but instead returned to Maryland.
In August 2018, Hayes, Reburn and Jennifer Amnott fled to the United Kingdom. They have since been arrested and are waiting to be extradited back to the U.S.
Walter Johnson Principal Jennifer Baker announced Reburn’s arrest in a message to community members on Thursday morning.
Baker’s message only said that Reburn had been arrested “for his role in an attempted murder and kidnapping in Virginia.” She wrote that Reburn was previously the girls lacrosse coach at the school, but did not elaborate.
“These charges are unrelated to Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students and unrelated to the time he spent as the lacrosse coach,” Baker wrote.
An MCPS spokesman said Reburn resigned from his position in August 2018. He had been employed with MCPS since 2012.
According to the Walter Johnson High School athletics website, Reburn is a karate instructor and was previously employed by Lifematters, a home care company. Reburn played Division III college lacrosse at Mount St. Mary’s University, according to the website.
Last week, Frank Amnott pled guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to kill witnesses and brandishing, carrying and using a firearm in the commission of a federal crime. The count of conspiracy to kill witnesses carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Frank Amnott’s sentencing is scheduled for late May.