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5-Year-Old Girl Found Safe 38 Days After Abduction

From Associated Press

A 5-year-old Massachusetts girl was found unharmed at a Gulf Coast fishing lodge and returned home with her parents today after a 38-day abduction by an obsessed baby sitter, authorities said.

Kenneth M. Cole II, a 24-year-old former bus driver, was charged with kidnaping after he was arrested Thursday on a tip from the lodge owner, who saw a local news report on the abduction.

Nicole Ravesi of Milford, Mass., showed no signs of abuse, FBI spokesman Paul Cavanagh said. She headed home today after getting a new dress and a medical checkup.

When asked how she felt, Nicole said “good,” but didn’t respond to any other questions when the family met briefly with reporters at their hotel.

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“We’re thankful to get our daughter back,” said Frank Ravesi, adding that the girl was “kind of scared of the cameras.”

His wife, Debra, said she was “very happy, very happy.”

Cole appeared before a U.S. magistrate and agreed to be returned to Massachusetts to face kidnaping charges there.

Cole and Nicole had been staying since May 5 in a trailer behind Sportsman’s Lodge in East Point, a fishing village about 70 miles southwest of Tallahassee, owner Bob Allen said. He said the girl called Cole “Dad” and never spoke of her mother and real father.

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When Allen called Cole out of the trailer so FBI agents could rescue the girl Thursday, Nicole was “kind of down at first,” Allen said. But she responded quickly after she was given a sandwich, cookies and milk, said Franklin County Sheriff Warren Roddenberry.

“She had learned, I guess, to depend on this character, but she is doing quite well,” the sheriff said.

The youngster was reported missing April 3 after she was taken from a car where she was with a sister waiting for her mother to finish work.

In February, social workers had noticed Cole’s attachment to the girl and alerted the Ravesis, who obtained a restraining order against Cole to prevent him from seeing or speaking to Nicole. But the five-day order expired and the family did not pursue the issue because Cole had stayed away, police said.

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FBI agent James Cagnassola Jr. said Cole may have taken Nicole to Florida by train. Cole’s car was found in an Amtrak parking lot in Providence, R.I.


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