A 6-year-old boy is in protective custody after his mother, grandmother and aunt asked a friend to kidnap the child to teach him a lesson because he was "too nice" to strangers.
23-year-old Nathan Firoved of Troy, a rural town outside St Louis, was arrested and charged with felony kidnapping and other crimes.
REUTERS reports that Firoved lured the boy into his pickup truck after the child stepped off a school bus on Monday. He allegedly told the six-year-old he would never "see his mommy again."
During the nearly 4 hour ordeal, Firoved produced a gun and told the boy he would shoot him if he didn't stop crying. The boy's hands and feet were bound and a jacket was thrown over his head.
Firoved took the child to a basement where his aunt lowered the boy's pants and told him he would be "sold into sex slavery," the sheriff's office said.
The boy was later untied and taken upstairs where the family scolded him about "stranger danger."
After the child told a teacher what happened to him, sheriff's deputies arrested the boy's aunt, 38-year-old Denise Kroutil, his mother, Elizabeth Hupp, 25, and grandmother, Rose Brewer, 58, and charged them with felony kidnapping.
Firoved, a co-worker of Kroutil's, was recruited by the 3 women to help them teach the boy a lesson.
"Family members told investigators their primary intent was to educate the victim and felt they did nothing wrong," said a sheriff's statement.