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Michigan Police Investigate Alleged Kidnapping Of Poker Player

WSOP Circuit Winner Says He Was Taken For 35 Days


Janssen - MSPT VenetianAuthorities are looking into the alleged kidnapping and extortion of a Michigan poker player.

George Janssen of Bad Axe, Michigan, was found with his hands zip-tied and a bloody face along a rural road in Meade Township on Dec. 23 at about 12:30 a.m. Janssen was taken to the hospital and released later to return home.

At the poker tables, he has more than $500,000 in live tournament winnings including four World Series of Poker Circuit rings and a Mid-States Poker Tour title from September.

The poker player claimed to have been dealing with extortion attempts for two years and that he’d been kidnapped.

“The ambulance crew was attending to the visible injuries he had,” Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson told WJRT.

Investigation Continues

Three local law enforcement agencies are involved with investigating the alleged crimes and have passed information on to the FBI. WJRT reported that family members first reported on Nov. 13 that Janssen was “in trouble in Monroe County south of Dundee.”

That area is located about 170 miles south of Bad Axe. Where Janssen was found, Meade Township, is located about 10 miles from Bad Axe. A family friend later found his car with some cash, including a $50 bill, located on the floorboard, according to reports.

A family member told WJRT that two or three people abducted Janssen and transported him to the Toledo area, where he was kept against his will for 35 days in a basement. He claims the abductors then drove him to Huron County on Dec. 16.

“From what we gathered, he was being brought up here to recover some money that was hidden to give to these two assailants,” Hanson said.

How Janssen was able to escape his abductors isn’t available. Authorities are continuing to investigate, and the Bad Axe Police and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department contributed to the investigation.

“We can’t substantiate whether it did happen or it didn’t happen,” Hanson said. “But there are a lot of things that need to be looked into.”

*Photo by Venetian – MSPT – Anthony Thompson