A judge ordered a suspect in the kidnapping and murder of a Hasidic businessman from Brooklyn held without bail Thursday as detectives continue to scrutinize the activities of other possible suspects, a law enforcement official said.
Kendel Felix, 26, of Brooklyn, who police described as a construction worker, was arraigned during a brief appearance in Brooklyn criminal court before Judge Jane Tully on felony murder and kidnapping charges stemming from the January 2 abduction of real estate executive Menachem Stark, 39, said a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office.
Stark was seen on surveillance video being accosted by at least two men outside his Williamsburg office during a snowstorm and forced into a car. On Jan. 4, police said Stark's partly burned body was found in a trash bin at a gas station on Cutter Mill Road in Great Neck.
According to a two-page criminal complaint unsealed Thursday, an autopsy by the Nassau County Medical Examiner determined that Stark was asphyxiated from pressure to his neck and chest.
Felix was arrested early Wednesday at the same time another possible suspect was also taken into custody, said a law enforcement official who did not want to be identified. But while Felix was detained and charged, the second man, whose name has not been disclosed, was released as detectives continue their investigation, said the official.
"I have no doubt we are going to make a second arrest," stressed the official, who added that a third person may also be charged.
Police believe the motive for Stark's abduction was robbery and wasn't related to the myriad problems he was facing, including the bankruptcy of his real estate business and allegations that he was a slumlord.
Stark usually collected rents in cash and the day of his abduction is believed to have made a cash withdrawal from the bank, said the official. Several hundred dollars in cash was found in the van police believe was used in the kidnapping, an indication that the abductors may have panicked when Stark died, the official noted.