Family, FBI Asking for Help in Closing Year-Old Kidnapping Case

Investigators asking for public's help in closing Robert Wiles' kidnapping case.

ByABC News
March 3, 2009, 3:32 PM

March 4, 2009— -- The FBI says it is close to solving a year-old kidnapping case, but needs the public's help to find the "missing piece."

In the 11 months since Robert Wiles disappeared from his job at his family's aviation business in Lakeland, Fla., the FBI has narrowed down one "key suspect" and other "individuals of interest," Special Agent Dave Couvertier told

"We're looking for a little bit more information," he said.

The FBI knows exactly what kind of information it needs, Couvertier said, but agents aren't giving specifics for fear of tipping the suspects off.

"We don't want those who are responsible for his disappearance to know what we know," Couvertier said. "We know that they are still in the area."

But what they are releasing is that the people connected to Wiles' kidnapping had intimate knowledge of the personal and business dealings of Wiles and his parents, Thomas and Pamela Wiles. Couvertier said the suspect or suspects were "affiliated with the business or somehow did business with them."

"Not just one person is involved in this," Wiles' mother, Pamela Wiles, told "There are going to be people who have information."

Wiles, who was 26 when he disappeared and would have since turned 27, was last seen on the evening of April 1, 2008, at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport outside Tampa. He was due to catch a commercial flight to Dallas the next morning for a business meeting but never got on the plane. He left numerous personal items behind, including his computer, his truck and his bag.

Thomas and Pamela Wiles discovered a ransom note, the contents and location of which the FBI has not released, and quickly began preparations to meet its demands, but communication was never established between them and the kidnappers.

Couvertier said they were prepared to pay the sum demanded in the note, but authorities believe that the deal may have been soured because too much time had passed between the kidnapping and the discovery of the note.

Today, they are offering a $250,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who took their son.