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Kidnaped Girl, 5, Rescued as Lost Wallet Tips Police

November 20, 1987|Times Wire Services

ESTEPONA, Spain — A wallet lost by one of her kidnapers, containing identity papers and a ransom note, led to a pre-dawn police raid today on the villa where the 5-year-old daughter of a millionaire Lebanese businessman was held.

One abductor trying to use the girl as a shield was wounded at the hide-out, 200 yards from a police station.

"Don't cry, mommy. I'm all right," Melodie Nakachian told her mother as her father, Raymond, brought her home after the 12-day ordeal.

An elite police unit arrested three men, all identified by authorities as professional criminals, in the raid on two apartments in the same building. One of the men was shot and wounded in the chest when he tried to use Melodie as a shield. No police officers were reported injured.

Police said they discovered the child's whereabouts from a wallet dropped by one of the kidnapers while he was out jogging. Rafael Vera, government undersecretary for security, said the wallet contained identity papers and a note in French demanding ransom for the girl, who was pulled from a family car Nov. 9 by four hooded gunmen while on her way to school.

Melodie had been in San Roque, seven miles west of the Estepona, the town on the southern Costa del Sol where the family lives.

Two Others Arrested

A man and woman were arrested later today in nearby Malaga as part of the action code-named Operation Baby. Two more suspects who had been under surveillance fled on foot when police tried to seize them.

Police said none of the $13 million in ransom demanded by Melodie's abductors had been paid.

Nakachian told reporters gathered outside his house that his daughter "is fine, has no problems and has not been harmed, at least physically." He said the girl appeared to be under the effect of sedatives.

The father, who is Lebanese, said his daughter had lost seven pounds during her captivity. The kidnapers had threatened to starve and kill the child, but Nakachian said they fed her cakes and did not mistreat her.

The kidnapers cut locks off Melodie's hair and sent them to Nakachian along with two photographs of the girl and cassette tapes demanding the ransom.

Ransom Demand Trimmed

The abductors had demanded a ransom of $13 million, which they later reduced to $5 million and then to $4 million.

Police identified the man wounded in the chest only as Constant G., 34, of Grenoble, France. He was in serious condition. Also arrested were Frenchmen Fredie A., 33, of Nantes, and, in the other apartment, Angel Garcia Menendez, 40, of Puebla de Lillo.

Police said all three are known professional criminals previously active in Spain and France.

Shortly after the raid, police in Malaga arrested the other man and the woman in connection with the kidnaping.

Two suspects under police surveillance in nearby San Pedro de Alcantara jumped from their car and ran into the hills near Marbella when police tried to arrest them.

The little girl's mother is popular Korean singer Kimera, 33. Melodie was born in Las Vegas.

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