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Kidnaped Adopted Baby Safe; Natural Parents Held

December 14, 1987|From Times Wire Services

NEWARK, N.J. — An adopted baby taken by a gunman from his Pacific Palisades home Friday was reunited with his adoptive parents Sunday, while his natural parents were in jail, accused in the boy's abduction, the FBI said.

"Friday was the worst day of our lives," said Kenneth Smith of Los Angeles at a news conference two hours after he was reunited with his 13-month-old son, Brian. "Today is the happiest." His wife, Barbara, stood beside him, holding the child.

The child's natural parents, who previously had tried unsuccessfully to regain legal custody, were arrested for investigation of kidnaping and conspiracy, an FBI spokesman said. The man who took the boy from his home still was being sought.

Bonnie Kiefer, 42, was arrested for investigation of kidnaping, and her husband, Francis, 41, was being held on suspicion of conspiracy, said FBI spokesman Michael Mines in Newark.

A shotgun-wielding intruder, described only as a male Latino, took Brian from a baby sitter who had been caring for the boy in the home of his adoptive parents.

But the crime appears to have been a fake robbery attempt to mask the kidnaping, said Los Angeles FBI spokesman Jim Neilson.

The Kiefers, of Moorestown, N.J., had given Brian up for adoption at birth but later sought to regain custody, only to lose a court battle, the spokesman said.

Police tried to contact the Kiefers after the child was taken and learned they had been in California and returned to New Jersey on Saturday, Mines said. Police later obtained authorization from the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles to arrest the couple, Mines said.

The Kiefers were arrested without incident after both were observed with the baby, Mines said.

Francis Kiefer was arrested Saturday evening as he walked along a street in Moorestown near the apartment where the mother and child were found Sunday morning, Mines said.

Mrs. Kiefer could face up to life in prison if convicted, he said. Her husband could face up to five years if found guilty of conspiracy.

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