Toronto Star

Aug. 30, 06:45 EDT

Kidnapped boy found, mother arrested

Toronto Star

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (AP) A nine-year-old southern California boy who was violently kidnapped from his father's home earlier this week was found safe at a campground Friday and his mother and an unidentified man were arrested, authorities said.

Nicholas Farber was found in Jamul, about 130 kilometres southwest of his Palm Desert home, said San Diego County sheriff's Lieut. Lisa Miller.

"We have great news. We have Nicholas, he is safe," Riverside County sheriff-elect Bob Doyle told a news conference in Palm Desert.

Nicholas was taken from his father's home at about 2 a.m. locaal time Wednesday after two men broke into the Palm Desert house and attacked the father.

The boy's mother, Debra Rose, and her former roommate, Carla Bender, had been named as suspects in the boy's kidnapping.

Authorities had been searching for a motor home with a Florida licence plate and kangaroo decals on the side. On Friday, someone in the RV park at Jamul saw the motor home and called police. Rose and a man were found inside and surrendered, Doyle said.

Nicholas was the subject of a custody dispute between Rose, 38, and his father, Michael Farber, 47, who married in 1991 and divorced in 1996.

The boy lived with Rose until she was arrested Aug. 15 in Colorado and held briefly for allegedly violating a restraining order involving another ex-husband. Farber went to Colorado and took Nicholas, then was granted temporary custody by a California court, which scheduled a Sept. 5 hearing on the father's bid for permanent custody.

The boy's mother was declared a suspect Thursday after her pickup was found at a Nevada casino. Bender, her roommate in Colorado Springs, Colo., has not been found.

Police did not say whether they believe the man found with Nicholas participated in the kidnapping.

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