canada.com

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Mother of kidnapped California boy and her roommate named as suspects

Canadian Press
canada.com

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) - The mother of a southern California boy taken from his father's home was declared a suspect Thursday in his kidnapping. Investigators were searching for the mother, Debra Rose, and her roommate, Carla Bender, said Riverside County Sheriff-elect Bob Doyle. He added authorities believe nine-year-old Nicholas Farber, who was the subject of a bitter custody dispute, may be in danger.

"We do believe that they are intimately involved in the kidnapping of Nicholas at this time," Doyle said.

Doyle also played a tape of a frantic 911 call Nicholas's father made minutes after his son was abducted about 2 a.m. local time Wednesday by two gunmen who broke down the door to their house.

"They stole my son, my son. He's nine years old," a breathless Michael Farber tells a police dispatcher.

Doyle said authorities are still trying to learn how the gunman are linked to Rose and Bender and have not found the white sport utility vehicle Farber said the kidnappers drove.

Rose's pickup truck was found in a casino parking lot in Primm, Nev., across the state line from California and 65 kilometres from Las Vegas. FBI agent Daron Borst said the car appeared to be abandoned.

Farber, 47, was given temporary custody of Nicholas when Rose, 38, was arrested two weeks ago in Colorado and held for a day for allegedly violating a restraining order involving another ex-husband. A Sept. 5 hearing had been set on his bid for permanent custody.

At an earlier news conference, Farber pleaded with her to return their son.

"If my ex-wife is out there somewhere and she just hasn't come forward, please come forward now and save us this," he said.

Another of Rose's ex-husbands, Stanley Rose, appeared in a Colorado Springs court Thursday and was granted a permanent restraining order against her.

Karyl Elliott, manager of Carla Bender's rented house, said the FBI searched the house Wednesday and removed items. Agents returned Thursday to talk with neighbours.

Bender was being evicted because she failed to pay any rent since signing a lease effective July 1. She failed to appear in court Wednesday for an eviction hearing.

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