Forsaken Ransom book cover

On the morning of April 29, 1992, Exxon Company, International president, Sidney J. Reso, left his home for the office. He stepped out to pick up the newspaper at the end of his drive as he did every morning. A van screeched to a stop and a large man wearing a ski mask and wielding a .45-caliber pistol leapt from the vehicle and grabbed Reso, shoving him into the back of the van. The female driver sped away. No one saw or heard anything.

The 57-year-old Reso was ordered into a coffin-like box inside the van. He refused and struggled. The kidnapper smashed Reso’s face with a gun barrel and then shot him in the arm. A dazed Reso fell into the wooden crate where his wrists were cuffed and his ankles manacled. The stocky man taped Reso’s eyes and mouth before he closed the lid and snapped the padlocks shut. The kidnappers then dropped Reso and his wooden tomb inside a stifling hot metal storage unit. He lay in complete darkness for days with little water and without any food, fresh air, or medical attention.

The kidnappers left a ransom note demanding $18.5 million($34 million today), the highest ransom ever exacted in U.S. history. The kidnappers claimed to be members of an international environmental terrorist group called the “Warriors of the Rainbow,” angry over the Exxon Valdez oil spill. They threatened to kill Reso and publicly display his body if their demands were not met.

The largest kidnapping investigation since Patty Hearst tried desperately to locate Reso. Though an armored truck had delivered the ransom in three large trunks to the FBI, weeks passed without further instructions from the kidnappers. A frantic Mrs. Reso went on television and pleaded for her husband’s release. The kidnappers finally resurfaced. The time for the ransom drop had come.

On the night of June 18, the FBI stuffed fake money into laundry bags and assembled an FBI drop team with a SWAT shooter concealed within the trunk of the drop car. Surveillance helicopters and security teams followed. Suspecting trouble, the kidnappers split up and telephoned from payphones, hustling the drop team from location to location and from note to note over several counties. The marathon game of cat and mouse lasted four long hours. All the while, the Reso family and U.S. Attorney Michael Chertoff anxiously awaited word. It came at 1:30 a.m. It would be a surprise to everyone.

What happened to the President of Exxon and his kidnappers?

Taking Mr. Exxon will unveil the mystery. It's a chilling, edge-of-your-seat, thriller that you will not want to put down.

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Coming April 30, 2021.