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Kidnap Suspect Out of Mass. Jail

April 23, 1998

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ Stephen Fagan, accused of kidnapping his two young daughters nearly 20 years ago, stepped out of jail a different man than the one his children knew just a week ago.

``I’m looking forward to speaking again and seeing my children, discussing many issues,″ Fagan told reporters after being released on $250,000 bail Wednesday.

Fagan, 56, allegedly took his two daughters, then ages 5 and 2, after they visited him for a weekend in 1979, moved them to Palm Beach, Fla., and told them their mother died in a car crash.

Rachael and Lisa Martin learned that their mother, Barbara Kurth, was alive after their father was arrested last week. They have not spoken publicly about the case, though they appeared in court Tuesday at Fagan’s arraignment.

Prosecutors said Fagan, following a bitter divorce in which Kurth was given custody, absconded with their daughters, changed his and his daughters’ last name to Martin and created a new life for them.

``This was about the children,″ Fagan said. ``It was about nothing else but what was necessary for the children.″

Fagan’s lawyer has said Fagan took the children because their mother was unfit. Kurth’s attorneys have denied the accusation.

Police received a telephone tip several months ago that led to Fagan’s arrest last Thursday on kidnapping charges.

Kurth, 48, who is remarried and lives in Charlottesville, Va., has said that she never stopped thinking of her girls.

She said she hopes the intense media attention, created in part by the ``charade″ of a life her ex-husband has been leading, would not prevent a reunion between her and her daughters, now ages 23 and 21.

Fagan is due back in court on May 22.

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