- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2001

A federal magistrate in Indiana has ordered Jay E. Lentz held without bond until authorities return him to Virginia to stand trial on charges that he killed his ex-wife five years ago, an FBI official said yesterday.

Mr. Lentz, who faces three charges in connection with the disappearance and death of Doris Faye Lentz in April 1996, will return to federal district court in Alexandria at an undetermined time, said Special Agent Chris Murray, a spokesman for the FBI´s Washington Field Office.

Federal agents, Arlington investigators and local police in Indiana on Monday arrested Mr. Lentz, 41, at his home in rural Hancock County outside Indianapolis. He will remain in the Marion County jail until authorities schedule his return.

A judge issued a "forth with" order for Mr. Lentz to undergo "federal removal" to Alexandria, Mr. Murray said.

The hearing took most of the day because prosecutors were required to present witness statements for defense attorneys, he said.

Authorities long considered Mr. Lentz the prime suspect in the mysterious disappearance and presumed death of his former wife. The indictment unsealed Monday — which charges him with kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death and interstate domestic violence resulting in death — does not state what led to his arrest.

Mrs. Lentz, 31, vanished on the evening of April 23, 1996, on her way from Arlington to Fort Washington to pick up her daughter, Julia, then 4 years old. Her car, with blood-soaked seats, was found a week later in Southeast, but her body has not been recovered.

Mr. Lentz´s attorneys in Indiana could not be reached.

Stephen A. Freedman, a local lawyer who represented Mr. Lentz during his divorce in the mid-1990s, was skeptical about the case against his former client.

"This is clearly a not-guilty case," Mr. Freedman told The Washington Times yesterday. "I´m not sure they have anything that broke this case."

Authorities have been tight-lipped so far about what led to the arrest, which came about five years and one week after Mrs. Lentz disappeared.

Arlington County police, who began the investigation as a missing-person case, recently posted a photo of Mrs. Lentz and basic information about the incident on the department´s Web site. Police have not said if that yielded new information.

The Lentzes had been divorced for about a year and were near the end of a child-support and custody dispute when Mrs. Lentz vanished. Friends immediately suspected foul play because of her dedication to her daughter.

Mr. Lentz owed his former wife thousands of dollars, according to court records, and Maryland began garnishing his paycheck in April 1996, the same month Mrs. Lentz vanished.

Mrs. Lentz suffered physical and verbal abuse during the rocky marriage, according to police and court records, as well as friends who spoke to The Times.


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