Abducted Boy Found Alive; Investigations Continue

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A 6-year-old boy abducted from his home last week is safely back in his father's arms. Police now want to know what the boy's grandfather may know about the kidnapping.

Cole Puffinburger was found by a bus driver Saturday night on a quiet street outside a Methodist church in Las Vegas, four days after being snatched from his mother's home by two men posing as police officers.

Cole was in "extremely good condition" but was taken to University Medical Center as a precaution, Las Vegas police Capt. Vincent Cannito said. He was treated and released to his father's care early Sunday, hospital spokesman Rick Plummer said.

Even before the good news, Cole's grandfather, Clemens Tinnemeyer, had been arrested. Police said they believe the kidnapping at gunpoint may have been a message to Tinnemeyer, 51, who authorities say may have stolen millions from drug dealers involved in trafficking methamphetamine.

Tinnemeyer was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate Monday in Riverside, Calif. He was arrested there Friday and was being held in nearby San Bernardino on a material witness warrant issued by a federal court in Nevada.

Las Vegas police didn't know whether Tinnemeyer had a lawyer. Police have declined to elaborate on what role he played in the drug operation or whether the kidnappers had been seeking a ransom.

Messages left at a number believed to be for the Tinnemeyer home
were not returned. A black pickup truck sat in the driveway Sunday,
but no one came to the door. A blue painted sign stood in the yard of the home, reading "Welcome Home Cole."

The home appeared sparsely furnished, with a bare mattress on the living room floor. No one answered the door.

Robert Puffinburger would not comment on Cole's mother or her father, 51-year-old Clemens Tinnemeyer, who police say may have stolen millions from dealers involved in trafficking methamphetamine.

Tinnemeyer was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate Monday in Riverside, Calif. He was arrested there Friday and was being held in nearby San Bernardino on a material witness warrant issued by a federal court in Nevada.

Las Vegas police didn't know whether Tinnemeyer had a lawyer. Police have declined to elaborate on what role he played in the drug operation or whether the kidnappers were seeking a ransom.

Tinnemeyer described himself as a carpenter of 22 years when he and his wife, Diane, filed for bankruptcy in 2001. They live in an older Las Vegas neighborhood of weathered rambler-style homes on acre lots. A rooster crowed from a nearby yard Sunday.

The Tinnemeyers have lived there for close to 20 years, according to a neighbor who didn't want to be identified because he feared for his safety.

Until about two years ago, the house was busy with cars coming and going, he said. Cole was often at the home in the care of his grandmother, who works in a lunchroom of the local elementary school.

Tinnemeyer spent time in what he said was a recording studio behind the home, the neighbor said. He left in a motor home in May. The neighbor said he continued to see Diane Tinnemeyer daily but had not seen her husband since.

As authorities continued to piece together the puzzle of Cole's abduction, Staretz said officials were still seeking a "person of interest," a Mexican citizen identified as Jesus Gastelum.

Gastelum, who is in his mid-30s, is believed to be in Las Vegas or Southern California, police said. Another "person of interest" in police custody was not identified.

Cole's father, Robert Puffinburger, was a picture of relief at a news conference, as he smiled, cried and thanked police and neighbors for helping to bring Cole home.

"I'm just so glad he's safe," his father said.

A bus driver for the disabled discovered Cole walking alone on a residential street, said Jacob Snow, a general manager for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. The driver pulled over to see if he was OK.

"Cole approached the bus and asked the driver, 'Can you take me home?"' Snow said.

The bus driver, who did not want to be identified, took Cole onto the bus and contacted police, Snow said. The child told the driver and riders that he had been dropped off just a few minutes before.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-20-08 0643EDT

On Sunday, a blue painted sign stood in the yard of the home
from which the boy was abducted after the kidnappers tied up his
mother and boyfriend, then ransacked it.
"Welcome Home Cole," it read.
The home appeared sparsely furnished, with a bare mattress on
the living room floor. No one answered the door.
Robert Puffinburger would not comment on Cole's mother or her
father, 51-year-old Clemens Tinnemeyer, who police say may have
stolen millions from dealers involved in trafficking
methamphetamine.
Tinnemeyer was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate
Monday in Riverside, Calif. He was arrested there Friday and was
being held in nearby San Bernardino on a material witness warrant
issued by a federal court in Nevada.
Las Vegas police didn't know whether Tinnemeyer had a lawyer.
Police have declined to elaborate on what role he played in the
drug operation or whether the kidnappers were seeking a ransom.
Tinnemeyer described himself as a carpenter of 22 years when he
and his wife, Diane, filed for bankruptcy in 2001. They live in an
older Las Vegas neighborhood of weathered rambler-style homes on
acre lots. A rooster crowed from a nearby yard Sunday.
The Tinnemeyers have lived there for close to 20 years,
according to a neighbor who didn't want to be identified because he
feared for his safety.
Until about two years ago, the house was busy with cars coming
and going, he said. Cole was often at the home in the care of his
grandmother, who works in a lunchroom of the local elementary
school.
Tinnemeyer spent time in what he said was a recording studio
behind the home, the neighbor said. He left in a motor home in May.
The neighbor said he continued to see Diane Tinnemeyer daily but
had not seen her husband since.
Messages left at a number believed to be for the Tinnemeyer home
were not returned. A black pickup truck sat in the driveway Sunday,
but no one came to the door.
As authorities continued to piece together the puzzle of Cole's
abduction, Staretz said officials were still seeking a "person of
interest," a Mexican citizen identified as Jesus Gastelum.
Gastelum, who is in his mid-30s, is believed to be in Las Vegas
or Southern California, police said. Another "person of interest"
in police custody was not identified.


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