Latest case a reminder of unsolved 1978 abduction

Thu, Oct 16, 2008 (6 p.m.)

Police: The Search for Cole

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Metro Police press conference on the Cole Puffinburger kidnapping case.

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Cary Sayegh

UPDATE: Police: Kidnapped boy’s grandfather a ‘person of interest’

The latest kidnapping of 6-year-old Cole Puffinburger is a chilling reminder of another sensational abduction that has never been solved.

Cole was snatched at gunpoint out of his home on Cherry Grove Avenue near the intersection of Hollywood and Lake Mead boulevards on Wednesday by three men who posed as police officers and forced their way into the house.

There has been no ransom note and police are racing to find the child.

This kidnapping has been linked to drug activity by Metro Police, who are working with the FBI and law enforcement agencies nationwide to find Puffinburger, a first-grade student at Stanford Elementary School.

The kidnapping of 6-year-old Cary Sayegh of Las Vegas from the Albert Einstein Hebrew Day School, 1600 E. Oakey Blvd., on Oct. 25, 1978, remains the most publicized unsolved kidnapping in Las Vegas history.

The only suspect brought to trial, Jerald Burgess, was found innocent after a 1982 trial. He served time for rape and fraud in two unrelated cases before being released from prison in 1989.

Burgess became tied to the Sayegh kidnapping when he led police to one of the boy's shoes found in a desert area bordered by Desert Inn Road on the north, Flamingo Road on the south and the Boulder Highway on the east.

Sayegh, the son of prominent Las Vegas businessman Sol Sayegh, owner of the Carpet Barn rug store, and Marilyn Sayegh, vanished from the school's yard.

The parents received only one ransom call shortly after the kidnapping from a person asking for $500,000.

Cary Sayegh has never been found.

In another kidnapping that led to a brutal slaying, 16-year-old Bishop Gorman High School junior and Las Vegas Sun copy girl Terry Romeo was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and left in a desert area in 1973.

Terry Romeo was the fourth child of Dr. Donald and Barbara Romeo. The physician worked at the Clark County jail from 1960 to 1978 and was the ringside physician at major professional boxing matches in Nevada from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Police captured David Ray Bean, who is serving a life sentence without parole at the Ely State Prison for that crime.

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