Search Heats Up For Missing Widow

The mysterious disappearance of a wealthy New York City widow has the police focusing on a shady couple of con artists who may be linked to a murder in Los Angeles, reports CBS News Correspondent Richard Schlesinger.

Irene Silverman owns an opulent building in a posh Manhattan neighborhood, but her luck may have run out. The 82-year-old millionaire has been missing since Sunday. Police fear the worst because of her association with a mother-and-son con team, Sante Kimes, 63, and Kenneth Kimes, 23.

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


Sante and Kenneth Kimes
"They appear to be real con artists," says New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir. "They appear to be people who allegedly have been involved in violent activity before and would go to any lengths to con people out of their money or property."

Silverman rented an apartment in her building to Kenneth Kimes, and there are reports he and his mother were trying to get Silverman to sign over her house to them.

Police in Los Angeles headed to New York, because they think the Kimeses might be involved in the murder of an L.A. man, David Kazdin, 63. Police believe the Kimeses took out a fraudulent loan in his name before his body was discovered in an industrial trash bin.

"Based on what we know so far about the Kimeses, I'm very concerned," says Police Commissioner Safir.

Silverman, who was once a dancer, became a tough businesswoman, according to one friend, who says she would not have been an easy mark.

"Irene would not have taken kindly to any kind of effort to intimidate her," says friend Jim Shenton, describing her as "a very, very outspoken andÂ…very aggressive woman."

But, reports Schlesinger, police are worried that Silverman might have met her match in the Kimeses. A judge made sure they will stay in custody while police keep looking for Silverman. Thursday, they said there may be a third person connected with the Kimeses, and that person might know what happened.

Other police departments also have said they were interested in the mother-and-son con team in connection with the disappearance of a Cayman Islands banker, who vanished nearly two years ago.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Sante Kimes say she claims that authorities hit her with a telephone book when she was being questioned Tuesday. According to the police commissioner, Sante 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."