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Suspects Maintain Innocence in Kidnapping Case

In a joint statement today, the two suspects in the IASCO flight school kidnapping case move to maintain their innocence.

Posted: May 29, 2018 7:56 PM

REDDING Calif. - After being silent since Friday lawyers for Jonathan McConkey and Kelsi Hoser, instructors at a Redding-based flight school accused of kidnapping and threating to deport a student, have released a statement responding to the incident and maintaining their innocence.

On Friday the Redding police department responded to call of kidnapping after a Chinese student of the IASCO flight school Tianshu Shi was taken by his instructors and allegedly told he was being sent back to China.

Jonathan McConkey

Kelsi Hoser

According to the Redding police department when Mr. Shi refused his instructors request they battered him and threatened physical violence.

Jonathan McConkey and Kelsi Hoser were arrested and have since posted bail.

Today they released the following statement through their lawyer.

“Joint Statement from Counsel for Jonathan McConkey and Kelsi Hoser,
re IASCO Kidnapping Allegations
This press release concerns the arrest of Jonathan McConkey and Kelsi Hoser on May 25, 2018, on suspicion of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in Redding, California. Our clients vehemently deny the allegations that have been made and intend to prove their innocence. In the coming weeks, we will provide you with additional facts, documentation, personal information regarding Tianshu Shi, and information regarding the complexities of training a foreign national post-9/11. This is a very complicated situation involving multiple agencies. IASCO Flight Training Inc. expelled Mr. Shi early this month for failure to meet the standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Mr. Shi was given every legally permissible opportunity to successfully complete his training but was unable to demonstrate competency. He was given ample notice that he was required by law to return home to China upon his expulsion from the flight program. Mr. Shi’s mother and her attorney have flown in from China in a continuing attempt by Mr. Shi to circumvent American regulations and avoid shame and humiliation at home. We ask the press and public to withhold judgment, afford our clients their presumption of innocence, their right to be tried in a courtroom and to respect their privacy as this process proceeds.
Jonathan McConkey is represented by attorney John M. Runfola.
Kelsie Hoser is represented by attorney Naomi Chung.”

The IASCO flight school is unique because it runs a sponsorship program for its students to attend the school across international borders through M-1 student visas.

Their website also says that the school manages the immigration process for all international students.

Today Redding police department said that they are working hard to turn a case into the DA’s office so that this process can continue.


REDDING, Calif.—According to the Redding Police Department they responded to a report of a kidnapping at the 1400 block of Trudie Trail in Redding Friday morning around 7 a.m.

The victim was identified as Tianshu Shi who is a pilot training at a local flight school IASCO in Redding.

The victim’s brother Baihan Fu who lives in Shanghai China spoke with his brother Friday morning and Shi told him that someone was at his apartment to take him away.

When Shi’s brother did not hear back from him a short time later, he called and spoke to another flight student who told him Shi was just assaulted and taken away.

Fu then called the Redding Police Department to report the kidnapping.

During the investigation, officers learned that Jonathan McConkey the General Manager of IASCO Flight School and his assistant Kelsi Hoser the Admissions Director responded to Shi’s address last night to advise him they were sending him back to China.

They responded back to Shi’s home Friday morning to carry out this action.

When Shi refused McConkey battered him, and threatened physical violence if he did not go with them.

Mr. Shi ultimately left with them in fear for his safety.

They transported him to the Redding Municipal Airport to be sent back to China.

Officers located Shi, McConkey, and Hoser at the airport.

McConkey and Hoser were both arrested and booked for conspiracy and kidnapping.

Shi sustained minor injuries and was later released by police.

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