A six-year-old boy kidnapped from a Las Vegas home by alleged drug dealers has been found alive north-east of the Strip, police said today.
Cole Puffinburger was recovered at around 11.30pm yesterday after a member of the public told detectives a child was walking the streets, Las Vegas police officer Jay Rivera said. He said the child appeared to be healthy.
Cole was abducted on Wednesday morning by two men posing as police officers.
The boy’s grandfather, Clemens Tinnemeyer, was arrested on Friday in connection with Cole’s disappearance.
Police believe the abductors were Mexican drug dealers and that the kidnapping at gunpoint was a “message” to Tinnemeyer, who they said may have stolen millions of dollars from the dealers.
Police had concentrated efforts on a largely Hispanic neighbourhood north-east of the Las Vegas Strip.
Leaflets in English and Spanish were distributed by Cole’s father, Robert Puffinburger with photos of the boy – slight, bespectacled and with a wide grin.
In an interview on CNN last night, Robert Puffinburger spoke directly to his son’s abductors, saying: “I just want him home. Drop him off somewhere, I don’t care. Just let him go.”
Police said money and drugs were a huge factor in the abduction. “The only innocent person involved in this entire operation is the boy,” said Las Vegas police spokesman Cris Johnson.