Doctor’s Daughter Kidnapped; Four Charged After Ransom Paid
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ A doctor’s teen-age daughter was kidnapped and held with a hood over her head for nearly 48 hours, until her parents paid $350,000 in ransom, authorities said Thursday.
Caroline Wingate, 17, wasn’t harmed and police arrested four men within hours of her release Wednesday night. Two more arrests were expected, police said.
All the money was recovered, said William McMullin, an FBI spokesman in Boston.
The nightmare for Dr. Charles Wingate, an ophthalmologist, and his wife, Vera, a minister, began with a telephone call to their home in affluent Hollis just before 4 a.m. Tuesday. The caller said he had their daughter, a high school junior and aspiring model, and demanded $350,000 in ransom.
″We have your daughter,″ Wingate quoted the caller as saying. ″Don’t say anything, do you understand?″
The caller implied the girl would be killed if the police or media were alerted. The parents called police, who found her car parked in the garage, the driver’s door open.
Wednesday night, the man called again and demanded the ransom be delivered to a bridge in neighboring Nashua, McMullin said. Wingate dropped off the money and FBI agents said they followed a car that arrived to pick it up.
The girl was released soon after, about 11:15 p.m., in Hampton Falls, about 40 miles away, McMullin said. She called home, and state police picked her up.
Authorities believe she was held most of the time with a hood over her head in a motel in Ossipee, about 75 miles north of Hollis, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Vicinanzo said.
The girl wasn’t a chance victim, McMullin said.
″It was not random. She was targeted. I don’t know if we understand why yet,″ he said.
Wingate told reporters that his daughter said she screamed as her abductors threatened her with a knife in the garage. ″We didn’t hear anything,″ he said.
″You hear about these things, you see these things in the TV and the movies. You never think it’s going to happen to you,″ Wingate said.
Miss Wingate was doing well and may return Friday to school and her part- time job at a clothing store, her father said.
Arrested were Craig Clark and Keith Healey, both 22 of Nashua; Alexander Christopher, 24, of Hudson; and Todd Barrett, 23, of Rochester, McMullin said.
All were charged with threatening someone with violence to extort money. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Bail was not set at a federal court hearing Thursday. Not all the defendants had lawyers and no pleas were entered.
Clark and Christopher were arrested after the ransom was paid, the FBI said. About $100,000 of the ransom money was in Christopher’s car, authorities said. The two other men were arrested Thursday morning in Dover.
A neighbor of the Wingates, Tom Coyle, told The Sun of Lowell, Mass., that his wife and daughter were awakened early Tuesday by a car driving very slowly up and down the street.
″They didn’t get a description of the car,″ Coyle said. ″They probably should have.″