- The Washington Times - Monday, January 24, 2005

DALLAS — Using helicopters, dogs and officers on foot and horseback, Dallas police yesterday searched a 40-acre wooded area south of the city where they thought a kidnapped businessman’s body was dumped last week.

They found a large cardboard box and a white plastic mat covered with blood, but no remains.

Oscar J. Sanchez, 30, a top executive of a family-owned company that operates Mexican restaurants in Dallas, was abducted last Tuesday morning as he drove to work.

The kidnappers negotiated by phone that afternoon for ransom, starting at $3 million, but failed to appear at the designated drop location.

Though Mr. Sanchez has not been ruled dead, one police source — citing evidence obtained in the previous 24 hours — told The Washington Times late yesterday, “There is no hope. This is a body search now.”

When one of two suspected kidnappers was captured at a Chicago airport Sunday, he told Dallas police that a slaying had taken place at his home.

Jose Alberto Felix, 28, a former Dallas first-grade teacher, became a suspect after police traced telephone calls to the victim’s mother, Laura, to his Duncanville address. Later, they matched blood found at the residence to Mr. Sanchez.

Still on the run is a second suspect, Edgar Acevedo, 24, a former waiter at one of the Sanchez family’s restaurants.

On Sunday morning, when Mr. Felix was arrested at Chicago’s Midway Airport an hour before he was scheduled to fly to Guadalajara, Mexico, he told authorities that Mr. Acevedo had flown to the Mexican city several hours earlier.

Mr. Felix also told officers that the slaying had taken place within hours of the kidnapping. The two had rammed Mr. Sanchez’s automobile in a residential section of Oak Cliff and taken him to the Duncanville house, Mr. Felix said.

He waived extradition proceedings in Chicago yesterday and was to be flown back to Dallas today.

“The family is obviously devastated by the reports and they need their privacy now,” said Mike McKinley, a family spokesman.

Police were tipped to the identity of the kidnappers by the victim’s mother, who was on the phone with Mr. Sanchez when his car was rammed. He told her his vehicle had been hit, then opened his door and saw two men hurrying toward him, and she heard him say, “Oh hi, Richie.”

Several employees of the family’s restaurants recalled that Mr. Acevedo had used that name as one of his aliases.

Police found considerable blood, shell casings and broken furniture at the Duncanville house.

A sister of Mr. Acevedo’s who lives in a Chicago suburb told a Dallas television reporter yesterday that the two suspects had spent two nights at her residence.

“If I had had any idea of what they had done, I would not have opened the door,” said the woman, who identified herself only as Gabriella.

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