Charges Dropped Against One Of Four Men Arrested In Kidnapping
MIAMI (AP) _ Three men pleaded innocent today in the kidnapping of the 9-year-old great- great-granddaughter of the founder of the Mueller Egg Noodle Co., while prosecutors dropped charges against a fourth man arrested in the case.
Peter Farrell, Paul Farrell and Edward O’Brien were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on two counts of extortion in the abduction last month of Amanda Mueller.
Charges of extortion and conspiracy against Richard Louis Sais, 29, were dropped Wednesday because there wasn’t enough evidence of his participation in the kidnapping, said U.S. Attorney Teresa Van Vliet. The grand jury did not indict Sais.
The Farrell brothers and O’Brien pleaded innocent today before Chief U.S. Magistrate Peter Palermo, who assigned the case to U.S. District Judge Lenore Nesbitt. No trial date was set. The Farrells are being held without bail, while O’Brien is trying to meet a $100,000 personal surety bond for his release.
The four men were arrested Sept. 20, hours after Amanda was found safe inside a refrigerator box left in the woods. She had spent 28 hours in the box.
Sais, a truck driver and marina employee from Bonita Springs, denied all knowledge of the abduction scheme. He told FBI agents O’Brien offered him $500 to rent a car and help him pick up money for the Farrells at the Southwest Florida Regional Airport in Fort Myers.
Although the men rented the car, they never picked up the $1.5 million that John Mueller, the child’s father, left in two suitcases.
Sais said he didn’t know the money was a ransom.
O’Brien also has said he didn’t know he was involved in an abduction plot.
FBI agents said Peter Farrell, 37, planned the abduction because he wanted revenge for a failed real estate deal he had with the Mueller Co. of Naples, of which John Mueller is president and his wife, Barbara, vice president.