A Hopatcong New Jersey man faces kidnapping charges after allegedly abducting his two young sons and taking them to Florida.
According to officials, the 36-year-old suspect kidnapped his 7-year-old son and his 8-year-old son in February.
The suspect then allegedly fled to Florida with a childhood friend who is a convicted sex offender. The friend was previously convicted of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual battery, and rape.
The boys’ mother, who lives in Landing NJ, reported the children as missing after the suspect failed to bring them back following a custody visit. Police subsequently issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. State and federal authorities began an investigation and attempted to locate the suspect.
The children were missing for roughly six weeks before police tracked down the suspect at a motel located in New Port Richey, Florida. Police managed to locate the suspect by triangulating his location from a cell phone registered to the suspect’s accomplice.
Once the suspect was in police custody, the children were brought back to their mother in New Jersey. Meanwhile, the suspect was transported to Sussex County NJ after waiving extradition.
The suspect was charged with kidnapping and interference of custody.
The suspect recently made an appearance in Sussex County Superior Court for a bail hearing. He did not speak at the hearing.
The superior court judge decided to maintain the suspect’s bail at $800,000. He also prohibited the suspect from contacting his children while the case is pending.
Prosecutors suggested that the kidnapping was “a planned event,” not a “spur of moment” decision. Additionally, prosecutors said that the kidnapping attempt was meant to “permanently deprive” the suspect’s ex-wife of custody of the boys. According to prosecutors, the suspect planned to live “off the grid” until the children reached the age of 18.
For further information about this case, see the NJ.com article entitled “Judge Maintains $800K Bail for Hopatcong Dad Accused of Kidnapping Sons.”