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$320K Ransom In No. Ireland Kidnapping

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Aug. 20 (UPI) — A mother and son kidnapped in Northern Ireland were found 24 hours later south of the border after her partner paid a large ransom, police said.

Investigators said the crime may have been the work of a dissident Republican group trying to raise money, the Belfast Telegraph reported. The Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Gardai in the Irish Republic were collaborating on the investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway of the PSNI said the mother and her 16-year-old son were not harmed, at least physically.

“The family are deeply traumatized, you are dealing with a 16-year-old boy and two adults who had the terrifying ordeal of being removed and kept at a location overnight,” he said. “It was clearly a traumatic incident that they went through.”

Two masked and armed men broke into the family’s Belfast home Wednesday evening. The woman and teenager were taken to Ireland in a van and held overnight in County Monaghan. Her partner, a driver for a security company, was told they would not be harmed if he delivered 200,000 pounds ($320,000) Thursday, following instructions exactly.

Thursday evening the kidnap victims were locked in a shed and the van set on fire nearby. Police responding to a call about the burning van found them.

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