TEL AVIV (Jun. 30)
Three persons found in possession of most of the ransom money paid to the kidnappers of eight-year-old Oron Yarden were arrested yesterday but the child, abducted on June 8, is still missing. The suspects were not identified publicly by order of the magistrate who issued the detention warrants. Sources described them as two men and a woman who had known each other while serving in the army reserve and were living together. They reportedly insist that they found the money and disclaim any connection with the kidnapping.
The first major break in the three-week-old case came Friday when an alert bank teller in Rehovot noticed several 50 Shekel (IL 500) notes which bore the same serial numbers as the ransom bills. The police were alerted and confirmed that the numbers matched. They found traces of phosphorus, which the police had applied to mark the ransom money before it was paid. They also found traces of thinner which the kidnappers may have used to obliterate finger prints.
The depositor of the bills was a new customer at the bank who had given a false address in Rehovot. Police traced him through a relative and he was found along with the man and woman living with him. Police also found IL 1.5 million of the IL 2 million in ransom paid by Oran’s parents, Penina and Amos Yarden. Part of the money was in a ditch in the courtyard of the suspects’ house and the rest was concealed inside the house.
The recovery of the money only increased concern for Oron’s well-being, particularly because the boy suffers from bronchial asthma. He has not been seen or heard from since June 8 when he was kidnapped in the wealthy Savyon quarter of Tel Aviv where he lived.