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Three Men Arrested in Sinatra Jr. Kidnapping

Dec. 14, 1963 - The Justice Department announced early today that the FBI had arrested three men in connection with the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. and recovered almost all of the $240,000 ransom money. “Thank God it’s over,” said Frank Sinatra Sr. The big announcement came with dramatic swiftness when, not long after midnight, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover announced the arrests of a house painter, a vacuum cleaner parts salesman and a self-styled boxer, along with the recovery of all but $23,135 of the ransom. Mr. Hoover identified the men as John W. Irwin, 42, of Hollywood, Cal.; Barry W. Keenan, 23, of Los Angeles; and Joseph Clyde Amsler, 23, of Playa Del Rey, Cal. Keenan, with blond, crewcut hair, conformed closely to various descriptions of the main suspect in the case. The FBI said Keenan has an arrest record for burglary and petty theft. He was graduated in 1958 from University High School in West Los Angeles in the same class as Nancy Sinatra, sister of Frank Jr. Sinatra, 19, was abducted from his motel room at Lake Tahoe, Nev., Sunday night and released early Wednesday after his father, Frank Sinatra Sr., paid $240,000 in ransom. Hoover said $47,938 of the ransom money was recovered from Irwin, a painter and Navy veteran who was taken into custody around 9 a.m. PST Friday in Imperial Beach, Cal. Almost all the remaining money was found in a Culver City (Cal.) apartment where Amsler was arrested shortly after midnight (PST), the FBI said. Mr. Sinatra Jr. is still at the home of his mother, Mrs. Nancy Sinatra, 700 Nimes Rd., Bel-Air. The young singer is expected to return to work Tuesday at Harrah’s Club in Lake Tahoe. Today, Sinatra Sr. pridefully gave credit for an assist in the detective work to his son. He said the boy furnished information — presumably about his movements and the house where he was held hostage — that helped the two-state task force of agents spring their trap.


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