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Teen Reunited With Family After Two-year Abduction

April 30, 1985

MIAMI (AP) _ A teen-ager who was reunited with her sisters Tuesday after being abducted two years ago said she wasn’t physically abused, but didn’t seek help because her captor constantly watched her.

″I was afraid. I was scared,″ Cheryl Cramer, 16, told a brief news conference.

Miss Cramer, shy and nervous before a barrage of reporters, refused to describe the ordeal or talk about John Stanley Sykora, 32, of Chicago, the man who is accused of abducting her April 6, 1983 on her way to school in Hamilton Township, N.J.

″I’d rather not say,″ the girl said, shortly before her quiet smile dissolved into tears and she left with Kathy Cramer, 32, and Cynthia Sadley, 30, two of her six sisters, who came here from New Jersey.

″She needs a rest,″ said Kathy Cramer, who added the teen generally ″looks good ... maybe an inch taller.″ The three sisters planned to return home Tuesday.

Earlier, Kathy Cramer said Sykora, a family acquaintance for several years, was ″obsessed″ with her pretty sister and tried to befriend her by buying clothing for her and other gifts.

″He was a loner type of person,″ she said.

Cheryl Cramer was rescued by FBI agents Monday after Sykora was arrested at his Miami Beach home without incident on charges of kidnapping and unlawful flight to avoid prosection, said Joseph V. Corless, FBI special agent in charge. The warrant was issued April 6 in New Jersey, he said.

Sykora was ordered held without bond Tuesday after appearing before Chief U.S. Magistrate Peter Palermo.

The suspect claimed the girl ″was in my custody″ and told Palermo his assets included ownership in an apartment building worth about $150,000 and $1,000 in bank accounts in Florida and California.

Jack Yanks, who said he had employed Sykora but later refused to say how, testified that he was under the impression that Cheryl Cramer and the defendant were married.

Corless said federal agents in Miami received information from the Newark bureau late last week that Sykora and the girl might be in Miami Beach. Neighbors identified the pair from photograhs, added FBI spokesman Joe Del Campo.

Agents believe Sykora kept the girl in Miami Beach for most of the time since the abduction. Del Campo said they lived in an apartment with the owner’s permission while Sykora did fix-up work.

During the news conference, Cheryl Cramer said she felt ″great″ after being reunited with her sisters, and wanted to go back to school as soon as she returned to her home in Hamilton Township, near Trenton.

She she didn’t attend school while living with Sykora, but Corless said she worked for a while at a fast-food restaurant.

″She did not have freedom of movement as we would know it,″ said Corless. ″She had great concern that if she did contact anybody, that harm would come to her.From the information we received, she was definitely abducted, did not want to go with Sykora.″

Kathy Cramer, 32, was appointed Cheryl’s legal guardian after their parents died. ″I never gave up hope,″ she said. ″I knew we would be reunited.″

Kathy Cramer and Ms. Sadley said Sykora had developed a passion for their sister in Phoenix, Ariz., where she lived with her mother.

The sisters said the older man’s attraction grew strangely stronger in January 1983, when Mrs. Cramer became deathly ill. Kathy Cramer said Sykora offered to take care of the girl, an offer which the family quickly rejected.

After the mother died, the teen-ager moved back to New Jersey and Sykora followed.

The girl was discovered just hours before her picture was broadcast on an NBC-TV after a third showing of ″Adam,″ the story of Adam Walsh, who was kidnapped and slain in Florida. There was no time to alter the segment after her rescue, network producers said.

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