'Abducted' businessman turns up safe and sound on other side of country
[Fort Lauderdale, FL]

April 16, 2001
(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) – A local businessman is unlikely to face any charges for a vanishing act that raised fears he had been abducted, a police spokesman said Monday.

James Cuddy called his family Sunday from Barstow, Calif., and his wife immediately left to meet him. His family had last heard from him almost two weeks earlier when he telephoned his office to say his car had broken down on I-95 in Boca Raton and two men had come to his assistance.

Detective Mike Reed said that police treated Cuddy’s disappearance as a missing persons case because there were no indications of foul play. But the Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton departments did circulate a sketch of two men witnesses had seen on the highway where Cuddy had said he was stranded.

Relatives and friends went further, Reed said, distributing flyers that described him as a kidnapping victim. They convinced the television program “America’s Most Wanted” to broadcast a report on the disappearance.

Police in Barstow tracked Cuddy to a pay telephone booth after Cuddy’s family alerted the Boca Raton department Sunday that he was on the phone. Once the officers determined that he was in good health and had driven to Barstow voluntarily their responsibilities ended.

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