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Police make second arrest stemming from boy’s abduction

Bus driver discusses his encounter with Cole on his Saturday night route

Cole Puffinburger case

Amanda Finnegan

Julio Diaz, the bus driver who found Cole Puffinburger, speaks at news conference Monday afternoon. Diaz found Cole at the intersection of 17th and Oakey Saturday night while on his bus route.

Updated Monday, Oct. 20, 2008 | 7:03 p.m.

The case after Cole

Metro Police had a press conference Monday afternoon on the abduction of 6-year-old Cole Puffinburger.

Cole Puffinburger case

Metro Police Capt. Vincent Cannito discusses information gathered in the kidnapping case of Cole Puffinburger at a Monday afternoon new conference. Launch slideshow »

Audio Clip

  • Monday's news conference on the latest in the Cole Puffinburger case
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Cole Puffinburger

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Jesus Gastelum

Authorities made a second arrest Monday in the investigation stemming from the abduction of 6-year-old Cole Puffinburger.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said a 42-year-old woman, Terri Leavy, was taken into custody by Fontana, Calif., police on Sunday. Leavy is believed to be the companion of 51-year-old Clemens Fred Tinnemeyer, who is Cole's maternal grandfather.

Leavy was wanted on an outstanding federal material witness warrant. Late Monday, U.S. Magistrate Oswald Parada in Riverside, Calif., ordered Tinnemeyer and Leavy turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service.

While the warrants and affidavits are under seal in the case, federal code allows law enforcement authorities to hold people for a reasonable period of time until a deposition is taken or they testify under oath, said Natalie Collins, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for Nevada in Las Vegas.

Metro Police announced during a Monday afternoon news conference that investigators have received dozens of leads in Cole's kidnapping case as the focus of the investigation has shifted to drug dealing and extortion.

"A very vast network out there is under review," Metro Police Capt. Vincent Cannito said.

Police are continuing their search for Jesus Gastelum, who has been identified as a person of interest in the case, Cannito said. Gastelum sometimes goes by the name Ferdinand, authorities said Monday.

Gastelum is a Mexican national and is described as being 5-foot-9 and weighing 185 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

Cole has been with his father since he was discovered Saturday night in the area of 17th Street and Oakey Boulevard, but Cannito said Cole's mother is in a position to care for Cole "under certain circumstances." He wouldn't comment further on Cole's mother.

Cole was living with his mother and her boyfriend in a house on Cherry Grove Avenue near Hollywood and Lake Mead boulevards when two men knocked on the door Wednesday morning posing as police officers. They burst into the house when the mother opened the door, then tied the mother and boyfriend up and covered their mouths with duct tape. After ransacking the house and not finding money, they took Cole at gunpoint.

"This was not a random act," Cannito said of the kidnapping. "This family was targeted."

During the investigation police discovered ties to possible drug deals. Tinnemeyer, Cole's maternal grandfather, was in hiding until law enforcement officials took him into custody as a person of interest Friday night in San Bernardino County, Calif.

The family had filed a missing persons report on Tinnemeyer on Sept. 11. He last had contact with his family in May 2008. Police hoped Tinnemeyer might help them find those involved in Cole's kidnapping.

The focus of the investigation shifted after Cole was discovered unharmed by a Regional Transportation Commission bus driver at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Cannito said.

The bus driver, 39-year-old Julio Diaz, said Monday that he saw the boy standing on the street and picked him up.

"I let him on the bus," Diaz said. "He told me that his name was Cole."

The blond, blue-eyed boy who wears silver-rimmed prescription glasses asked Diaz to take him to a street Diaz wasn't familiar with. Diaz then notified his dispatcher, who called police. The boy said he had been dropped off in the area.

"The good thing he wasn't shy about asking for help," Diaz said. "I think he knew that he came to the right person."

Detectives with Metro's missing persons detail were blocks away and responded, Cannito said.

"One of the first things Cole did was grab hold of a detective's leg," Cannito said.

Cole's discovery ended the longest Amber Alert in Nevada history, said Bob Fisher of the Nevada Broadcasting Association. The alert was in effect from noon Wednesday until Saturday afternoon and covered much of the Southwest U.S.

The boy's father, Robert Puffinburger, picked the child up after police took him to University Medical Center for a checkup, Cannito said. The child was in good shape and healthy without any physical problems, he said.

Public records indicate Clemens Tinnemeyer and his wife, Dianne, declared bankruptcy on Aug. 30, 2001. After the bankrupcy, Citibank of North Dakota pursued Tinnemeyer for unpaid credit card debts of $15,498.97, according to a judgment in Clark County District Court dated Sept. 10, 2001.

Cannito said the investigation into the kidnapping of Cole and possible drug ties to his family is ongoing.

"We have identified literally dozens of leads," Cannito said. "Right now we are not ready to identify persons of interest."

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