Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Nine year-old-boy snatched from father's home in southern California

Canadian Press

(AP/Palm Desert Police Dept.)
Nicholas Michael Farber, 9, see in this undated police handout photo, was abducted from his home in Palm Desert, Calif., on Wednesday. (AP/Palm Desert Police Dept.)

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) - Two gunmen forced their way into a southern California home Wednesday, kidnapped a nine-year-old boy who was the subject of a bitter custody dispute and attacked the boy's father, authorities said. Investigators were searching for the child's missing mother.

In the latest in a series of child abductions in southern California, Nicholas Farber was taken just after 2 a.m. local time in a suburb of Palm Springs, about 200 kilometres east of Los Angeles, said sheriff's officials.

Investigators were trying to locate the boy's mother, Debra Rose, 38, of Colorado Springs, Colo. She was not a suspect at this time, Riverside County sheriff-elect Bob Doyle said but had lost custody of the boy two weeks ago to Farber after she was arrested for allegedly violating a restraining order.

Michael Farber told authorities he saw three or four people inside the SUV when the gunmen stormed out of the house with his son, who was wearing only his underwear. A child also saw Nicholas being taken to a white sports utility vehicle, FBI agent Matt McLaughlin said.

Authorities asked the public to look out for the SUV and a grey pickup with Colorado paper registration plates.

The father, who had been home alone with his son, was beaten and treated at a hospital for his injuries, police said.

Rose was held for one day for allegedly violating a restraining order to stay away from another ex-husband and two children in Colorado, court papers said. A California court granted Farber temporary custody Aug. 23 and Farber was seeking to make the arrangement permanent at a Sept. 5 hearing.

In court papers, Farber wrote Rose "is known to be disruptive and emotionally disturbing to children and I fear that she would take young Nicholas out of state without permission as she has done in the past."

Farber, who divorced Rose in 1996, said he found Nicholas to be "tired, dirty, unkept and hungry" in Colorado. Ex-husband Stanley Rose, said in Orange County court papers Rose abuses morphine and other drugs.

Rose had been ordered Aug. 5 to stay away from Stanley Rose and two children, six-year-old Winter and five-year-old Dane Rose, court records showed.

© Copyright 2002 The Canadian Press

Copyright © 2002 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest Global Communications Corp