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Police lift Amber Alert for abducted Las Vegas boy

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Nationwide Amber Alert for Cole Puffinburger lifted after it had "run its course"
  • NEW: Authorities looking for Jesus Gastelum, a person of interest
  • NEW: Police say they have questioned two people, including the boy's grandfather
  • Grandfather has been involved in "significant drug dealing," police say
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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -- A nationwide Amber Alert was called off Saturday for 6-year-old Cole Puffinburger, but authorities said the search continues for the missing Nevada boy and a person of interest in his disappearance.

Cole was abducted from his Las Vegas, Nevada, home on Wednesday in what authorities are calling a drug-related kidnapping.

Police say the boy was snatched from his home by three armed men who tied up his mother and her fiance and ransacked the home, taking the child when no money was found.

The alert was canceled because police believed that it had "run its course," and tips generated from it had slowed, Capt. Vince Cannito of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said Saturday afternoon.

"Just because this Amber Alert was taken down does not minimize the efforts that are being put forth by the law enforcement community," Cannito said.

Cannito also said authorities had interviewed Cole's grandfather. Clemons F. Tinnemeyer, 51, is being held as a material witness after his arrest Friday night in Riverside, California

Cannito said police had interviewed another unidentified person and asked for the public's help in locating Jesus Gastelum, a third person of interest.

In the past 24 hours, Cannito said, authorities had executed search warrants in several jurisdictions, with a large amount of cash and evidence recovered, though he did not elaborate.

Cannito said that Tinnemeyer had been involved in "significant drug dealing" worth millions of dollars and that Cole was kidnapped by drug dealers attempting to recover lost money and property. Video Watch why police want to talk to Tinnemeyer »

Authorities believe that Tinnemeyer may have stolen millions from a Mexican drug cartel, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday and Saturday, citing police and other sources. Police refused to say what role Tinnemeyer may have played in the drug operation or whether the kidnappers were seeking a ransom.

Police believe that methamphetamine was involved, Officer Cris Johnson told the newspaper.

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  • KCAL:  Grandfather a 'person of interest'

Tinnemeyer last contacted his family in August, authorities said Friday, and had been reported missing last month.

Meanwhile, the boy's father issued an emotional plea for his release.

"I can't comprehend why somebody would do something like this to somebody and take a kid like that, take my son and do something like that," Robert Puffinburger said. "Just bring him home. If you've got him, bring him home. Drop him off somewhere, I don't care. Just -- just let him go."

Police said that at least two of the three men posed as police officers to enter Cole's home about 7:25 a.m. Wednesday.

Cole is described as 3 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 48 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a sweatshirt, dark jeans and silver-rimmed prescription glasses, authorities said.


The suspects were described as three Hispanic men who spoke with heavy accents.

National and local authorities have said that such drug-related abductions are happening more frequently in communities near the Mexican border.

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