Toronto Sun

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Gunmen grab boy, 9, from California home

By AP -- Toronto Sun

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- Two gunmen forced their way into a home yesterday, attacked a man and kidnapped his nine-year-old son, who has been the centre of a bitter custody dispute.

Police were searching for the boy's missing mother.

Nicholas Farber was taken just after 2 a.m. in this Palm Springs suburb, about 200 km east of Los Angeles. The kidnappers sped away in a sport utility vehicle, police said.

"The father was injured and, quite rightly, in a state of shock," said Capt. Patrick McManus of the county sheriff's department.

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 the father after she was arrested for 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.

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 he 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."

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