June 25, 2015
MEDINA, NY – A Texas man wanted for parental kidnapping over 20 years ago was arrested by the FBI in Medina, NY.
Daniel Lee Kestel, 58, is accused of kidnapping his 13-month-old son in 1992 from Loreno, Texas. Investigators say Kestel took his son for a scheduled visit, but never returned the child to his mother.
“We’re very gratified that we were able to finally locate him,” said Michelle Lee, a special agent in the FBI’s San Antonio bureau.
Kestel was only allowed to see his son on certain days. Investigators say Kestel picked his son up one day and fled Texas with him. The FBI says for years its received tips across the country about Kestel’s whereabouts.
“There were a few instances where we thought we were going to come close to being able to locate Kestel and unfortunately, those leads were not successful,” Lee said.
The FBI and the Loreno Police Department worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children following leads and tips on Kestel’s whereabouts.
The FBI says often times Kestel moved around, with his son, making it tough for authorities to find them. And finally, there was a break in the search, the FBI’s Buffalo office says it recently got a tip that Kestel was in Medina.
And, the father and son were found. Kestel’s son is now 24-years-old and has lived his entire life with his fugitive father.
Officials say Kestel’s son is in good health. Investigators won’t say what he’s been doing in Medina. As for Kestel himself, he’s been unemployed.
Kestel was arraigned and afforded an extradition hearing Monday in Orleans County Court in Albion. He waived the hearing.
In his court hearing, Kestel said he had been living under an alias — Paul Bambanek.
The federal charges of fleeing have been dismissed and the state charges in Texas stand. There’s been no mention, from investigators on whether those who knew Kestel was in Medina, will face charges.
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