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Break May Be Near in Sinatra Kidnapping Case

Dec. 10, 1963 - Frank Sinatra Sr. made a surprise flight to Los Angeles from Reno tonight and plunged into a frenzy of activity as mysterious as the Lake Tahoe kidnapping of his son, Frank Jr. Sinatra’s flight and his secrecy-cloaked movements came amid indications of optimism among FBI authorities that a break might be near. Jim Mahoney, Sinatra’s press agent, told reporters: “Hopefully, we’ll have some good news tonight. Things look a little more encouraging.” He added that Sinatra himself would talk to reporters if a significant development occurred. The famed entertainer, accompanied by two aides and FBI agents, landed at Lockheed Air Terminal, Burbank, aboard a chartered Constellation at 7:10 p.m. They were met by several FBI agents. One hour and 35 minutes later, a car carrying Sinatra roared into the gateway at 700 Nimes Rd., Bel-Air, home of his ex-wife Nancy. Then, at 9:30 p.m. a Buick Riviera, with Sinatra at the wheel and three other men as passengers, flashed out of the driveway and disappeared into the darkness. At 10:10 p.m. they returned to the Bel-Air home. Mahoney told reporters outside Mrs. Sinatra’s house that the kidnapping of her son, Frank Sinatra Jr., from a Lake Tahoe motel Sunday night left the mother a “very shook up woman.” Sinatra, he said, left his Reno hotel suite to fly to her side because she “is in need of consolation.” Sinatra himself has reportedly been extremely anxious. “He has just been sitting and staring at the phone,” said Jim Mahoney, the singer’s press agent. “When it rings, he jumps. I had to practically force him to eat. He doesn’t think about eating. He just looks at the phone.” Helpless despite all his power, Sinatra has told friends, “I’ve always had a fear of kidnapping.” Sympathetic telephone calls were received from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in Washington, who promised an all-out rescue effort; from White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger; and from Gov. Edmund G. Brown of California. Talking briefly with reporters, Sinatra said of the kidnapping, “I just don’t understand it. I can’t figure why.” He said he had last seen Frank Jr. about a week ago when his son was appearing in the Los Angeles area. Then emotion overcame him, and he could say no more.

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