A legal technicality prevents the filing of federal charges against a New Jersey couple arrested in the kidnaping of their 13-month-old son at gunpoint from the Pacific Palisades home of his adoptive parents, authorities said Monday.
Federal authorities in New Jersey said any prosecution of Francis and Bonnie Kiefer would be left to authorities in California.
"The order for adoption in California was not final," said Jim Knight, a spokesman for the FBI in Newark, N.J. "Therefore, the Kiefers were (still) the legal parents. The federal statute for kidnaping prohibits the charging of natural parents with kidnaping."
Los Angeles police said the Kiefers, the natural parents of toddler Brian Smith, arranged for a man, who is still at large, to kidnap the boy at gunpoint from his adoptive parents' home Friday evening.
A federal prosecutor said the Kiefers would be held in New Jersey until California authorities arrange for their transfer to face charges in Los Angeles. The adoptive parents arrived Sunday evening at Newark International Airport and were reunited with the child.