As his wedding day got closer, John Graber became nervous about his bride-to-be. He wasn’t doubting if she wanted to go through with it, though, he was wondering if he would ever see her again.

As KCTV5 reports, Graber dropped his fiancée, Cindy Kaufman, off to see her brother, Conrad Kaufman, after he sent a text asking to speak with her. When Graber did not hear back from either of them after that, the fear began to set in.


Graber said:

“I dropped her off at 2:00 and by 3 or 3:15, I called her, called him…no answer. I had all the truck loaded and was ready to go, but no reply and I started to get pretty nervous.”

He continued to wait for a reply from Cindy or Conrad, but his phone never rang. He decided to warn them that he was very serious about finding out where the brother and sister were by threatening to call the police if they did not get in touch with him.

That trick worked, but the answer he got from Conrad was not what he was expecting:

” … he sends me a text back, ‘sorry the wedding is off. I’m taking her far, far away and you’re never going to see her again.’ And then I fell apart.”

Conrad made an extreme and illegal move to keep the couple apart — he kidnapped his sister and drove her from Missouri to Illinois.

Graber was already having problems with Cindy’s family about religious differences — the couple had made the decision to leave the Amish community — but kidnapping her to keep them apart was a shock to the man.


Graber believes the family thought they were keeping their daughter safe from him by doing this.

He described how his fiancée’s family went after him, using “character assassination” to make people, particularly Cindy’s father, believe Graber was crazy:

“It was a process of people talking to her father, and he was a little unstable, and he took it seriously and they didn’t understand the seriousness of what’s happening.”

Conrad was caught and arrested for the kidnapping of his sister, who was returned to her home 24 hours after the pair vanished.


The husband-to-be praised police for bringing Cindy back to him safely:

“It’s a miracle that she’s here, because if local law enforcement had just viewed it as a domestic situation, she’d be gone. I’d be sitting here with a new house and no one to marry.”

Cindy’s brother was charged with first-degree kidnapping for taking his sister to Illinois. He allegedly held the bride inside his truck against her will to stop her wedding.

The couple is not letting the kidnapping get in the way of their marriage. They are sticking to their plan to say their vows, and Graber hopes his soon-to-be wife’s family will still be a part of the ceremony.

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