Con Man Dupes Family in Hunt for Daughter

ByABC News
June 26, 2003, 3:25 PM

June 26 -- When Ron and Iva Bradley got an e-mail from self-described soldier of fortune Frank Jones in the fall of 1999, it seemed like the answer to their prayers.

The Bradleys' daughter Amy had disappeared from a Caribbean cruise the previous March, when she was 23, and the family had recently heard from a witness that she was being held by armed Colombians on the Dutch island of Curacao.

Jones told the family he was a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer with a team of ex-Army Rangers and ex-Navy Seals who might be able to rescue Amy. "He told me that he'd put Amy on his own back and swim her out of there," said Iva Bradley.

Officials on the Dutch island of Curacao, where Amy disappeared, had told the family they could do nothing because there was no evidence of a crime, and an investigation by the FBI had made little progress. Jones seemed to offer the best hope of getting Amy out.

In the year since their daughter's disappearance, the Bradleys' high-profile campaign to find her along with their offer of a $250,000 reward had attracted scores of reports that led only to dead ends. But Jones seemed legitimate to them, and agreed to hire him to help recover Amy.

The Bradleys last saw their daughter in March 1998, when they took a cruise with her aboard the Royal Caribbean line's Rhapsody of the Seas. She vanished as the ship approached Curacao, and searches of the ship and the surrounding waters turned up no trace of her. The family is sure she did not commit suicide.

Daughter Said to be Held by Armed Colombians

Jones sent two of his men down to Curacao to check out the account given to the family by the witness, who was a cook named Judith Margaritha. Margaritha had told the family that Amy was being held by heavily armed Colombian guards in a housing complex protected with barbed wire. She also said that she regularly saw Amy shopping at a grocery store and working out at a gym, and that she was often with a man with long blond hair and tattoos all they way down one arm.