ON-AIR: LaBamba owner’s kidnappers in custody

By Margaret Pepple

Two Mattoon men will stand before a grand jury this week in the Antonio Aguas kidnapping case. The LaBamba owner was kidnapped September 11th and returned a few days later. Supervisory Special Agent Marshall Stone of the Springfield FBI Office says that this case is very unusual in that Aguas did not know his kidnappers.

“We don’t have a lot of those in the United States, where you actually have a Stranger kidnapping another person and holding that person for ransom. That’s relatively rare.”

Authorities arrested 32-year-old Adrian Lopez and 18-year-old Terence Merritt on federal kidnapping charges September 15. The pair are accused of abducting Aguas and demanding the family pay a ransom to have him returned. The FBI safely recovered Aguas in a motel room in eastern Indiana. Assistant US Attorney Richard Cox says the next step in the case is the appearance before a Grand Jury sometime this week.

“There were hearings to determine if there was probably cause to have had them arrested and whether or not they should be detained pending trial, and once all those hearings were completed, then it’s just awaiting grand jury action, which is where we are right now.”

There has been no motive uncovered except money.