STOLEN KIDS FOUND

By KATE SHEEHY and ED ROBINSON

July 26, 2005 — An eagle-eyed tipster recognized a boy in a
missing-person promo on TV’s “Without a Trace” ‹ finally solving a
2-year-old abduction case by leading authorities to the child and his
younger sister in a Westchester apartment yesterday.

Nicholas Candela, 8, and his sister, Gio’annah, 7, had been quietly
living with their fugitive mom in Tuckahoe after she snatched them from
Oklahoma City in 2003 when she lost custody to their dad, officials said.

“I was at work [yesterday], and the phone rang at 7 o’clock,” said dad
Nick Candela, an Air Force pilot.

“I knew right away it was the FBI agent [on the case] because I
recognized his voice. I said, ‘You’ve got my kids, don’t ya?’ I said,
‘Just tell me where to be, and I’ll be there.’ ”

Last night, after flying to New York, he was reunited with the children
he hadn’t seen in two years.

“I’m very relieved . . . They look good, they look healthy,” Candela
said, holding each of his kids’ hands as the exhausted trio walked into a
Westchester hotel where they were spending the night.

Asked if they were happy to be back with their dad, the children gave
small smiles and said, “Yes.”

Still, Nick Candela added, “I openly and clearly fear for my life and my
family’s life.”

He said his ex, Marcia Rose Marie Candela, warned him before she fled in
2003 that if he tried to take the kids back, “I’m going to kill you.”

Marcia Candela had abducted their kids Oct. 14, 2003, the same day she
lost custody after she refused to allow her ex visitation, authorities
said.

FBI agent Gary Johnson said the tipster, a fan of the show about G-men
tracking down missing people, provided “the break in the case we were
desperate for.”

Acting on the tip, authorities went to an apartment on Columbus Avenue at
around 6:30 a.m. and broke down the door after Marcia Candela, 42,
refused to let them in.

She was taken into custody, arraigned and freed on $10,000 bail yesterday.

Her neighbors were stunned to learn she had been a fugitive.

They said she was very active in the local Catholic church, where her
kids attended school.

“There was really nothing suspicious about her,” Kris Fleming said.

Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

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