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Millionaire Socialite Vanishes

A suspect in the disappearance of a wealthy widow was ordered held without bail Thursday for at least another four weeks, while police looked into a possible scheme to steal her opulent East Side townhouse.

Kenneth Kimes, 23, who rented a $6,000-a-month apartment in the townhouse from Irene Silverman, was arrested Sunday with his mother, Sante Kimes, 63, a con artist also known as "The Dragon Lady," on a Utah warrant unrelated to Silverman's disappearance.

Other police departments also said they were interested in the mother-and-son con team in connection with another disappearance, in the Bahamas, and a killing in California.

Anonymous New York police sources were quoted Thursday as saying that before Silverman, 82, vanished, notaries were asked to validate papers signing away title to the Upper East Side house. One notary reportedly declined because an "Irene Silverman" signature already was on the documents and the woman present would not sign again.

Kimes' court appearance was solely on the matter of the Utah warrant. He and his mother are accused of buying a used luxury sedan in Salt Lake City with a $14,000 rubber check in April.

In a five-minute proceeding, Criminal Court Judge Thomas Farber put the matter off until Aug. 6, the same date that Mrs. Kimes is scheduled to appear on the Utah fraud charge.

Kimes, in a yellow sweatshirt and gray sweatpants cut off at the knee, gawked at a crowd of reporters and sketch artists until a guard admonished him to look forward at the judge. He did not speak.

Afterward, his lawyer, Matthew Weissman said his client would not waive extradition and may appeal denial of bail.

As for Silverman's disappearance, co-counsel Jose A. Muniz, who represents Mrs. Kimes, said: "They would like to be helpful, but the manner in which the police have conducted this has made it difficult."

The lawyers said Mrs. Kimes claims that authorities hit her with a telephone book when she was being questioned Tuesday.

Police from Los Angeles were headed to New York to question the mother-and-son con team about a slain California businessman whose financial assets were stolen after he was shot in March.

The slain man, David Kazdin, 63, was found in a construction trash bin at Los Angeles International Airport with his car nearby.

In the Bahamas, Police Inspector Douglas Hanna said his department had information there was a connection between the Kimeses and a Cayman Islands banker who disappeared nearly two years ago.

New York police searched trash bins, the Kimeses' car and Central Park, half a block from Silverman's five-story house, without turning up a trace of the widow, who was a professional dancer in her youth.

WCBS Corresondent John Slattery reports that a police dog and groups of detectives also searched the townhouse where Silverman lived. The widow had 10 employees working for her at the pos turn of the century building where she rented out rooms on the first and second floors.

Silverman's passport and other papers were found with the Kimeses when they were arrested at a Manhattan hotel Sunday night, hours after Mrs. Silverman was last seen at home.

"They appear to be a very violent couple," New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir said. "We're very concerned for the welfare of Mrs. Silverman."

Safir said Mrs. Kimes has a long criminal record with arrests for petty and grand theft and forged credit cards. Her son's rap sheet has arrests for assaulting a police officer and "con games."


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