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2 Held in Kidnap of Boy, 9

Crime: Officers arrest the men on suspicion of taking Palm Desert child and beating his father.

September 03, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Two men suspected in last week's Palm Desert kidnapping of a 9-year-old boy at the center of a custody fight have been arrested in Escondido, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said Monday night.

Rodrique Edgar Van Blake, 27, and Elias Gutierrez, 28, were taken into custody Sunday afternoon at their Escondido homes, said Sheriff's Deputy Lisa McConnell. Both were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon in Wednesday's beating of Michael Farber, the father of Nicholas Farber, McConnell said.

"They are both believed to be the suspects who entered the house and abducted Nicholas," McConnell said.

McConnell said the men arrested Sunday work in the San Diego County city, but no information was given on their relationship with the boy's mother, Debra Rose, 38, the alleged mastermind of the violent abduction.

Rose and her ex-husband are fighting over custody of their son, who lives with his father. Rose lives in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Few details were given by the department, which will release more information today.

Two men burst into the Farber home and Michael Farber was beaten before Nicholas was taken away, police have said. A so-called Amber alert was broadcast and a park ranger in San Diego County recognized the license plate on a motor home in a private campground. The missing boy was found inside and Rose was arrested, along with a man believed to be her companion, Michael James Riley, 48.

Rose and Riley are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit residential burglary.

The four suspects are being held in lieu of $1-million bail.

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