Police chief's violent kidnapping helped shape who he is today

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
The Clayton County Police Chief was kidnapped in Macon when he was 10-years-old.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A local police chief said he understands exactly what crime victims go through because he was a crime victim himself.

WSBTV's Tom Jones spoke to Clayton County Police Chief Michael Register about the frightening moments when he was kidnapped when he was 10 years old.

Register said he has a better understanding of victims he comes into contact with because of what happened to him when he was a boy. It was a kidnapping where he thought he was going to die.

“I honestly didn't think I would survive,” Register said. “I was 10 years old. I was terrified.”

Three men had kidnapped him and placed him in a shallow grave.

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“They actually stood around deciding who was going to kill me,” Register said.

It was March 1971 in Macon when the men kidnapped Register as he walked to the store in an upper-class neighborhood where his mother worked.

“It appears they believed they had a little rich kid, when in fact they had a little very poor kid,” Register said.

One of the men beat him, handcuffed him to a tree and later to a bolt in an abandoned house.

Law enforcement investigated.

Register's mother delivered a $5,000 ransom but the kidnappers didn't hand him over to her.

They left him in that shallow grave and that's when he ran to freedom.

“I remember it like it was yesterday in my mind,” Register said.

When he led police back to the abandoned home, officers found the main kidnapper, 20-year-old John Plummer, hiding under the home.

When Plummer denied kidnapping Register, the 10-year-old told officers about evidence he had grabbed when he was being held.

“I remember I said, ‘I can prove it. I got his ID card,’” Register said.

Plummer was sentenced to life in prison.

Register is not bitter about the ordeal.

“If that had not happened to me, who would I be today?” Register said.

His father also told him something about the kidnappers that still shapes him today.

“Those were not three black men that kidnapped you. They were three bad men that just happened to be black,” Register said.

During his 30-year law enforcement career and his time in the military fighting overseas, he said he has tried to see the inside of people and not the outside.

He thanks God for saving him back in 1971 and for guiding him now.

For those who find themselves in near death experiences, or facing adversity - he says keep fighting.

“Don't give up. Do not give up. Keep believing. Have faith and don't give up,” Register said.

Register said he forgives the men who kidnapped him because he said that ordeal made him understand how precious life is.