The teen-age daughter of a prominent Northern Virginia bank president was kidnapped early Tuesday and held, bound and blindfolded, for more than 12 hours before payment of a $50,000 ransom freed her.
Carol Lynn Drewer, 19, daughter of First American Bank president Milton Lee Drewer Jr., was abducted between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. in a parking lot near the Tysons Corner headquarters of First American where she is employed, the FBI said yesterday.
Drewer was set free about 10:30 p.m. near Shirley Highway and Seminary Road in Alexandria. Her release came after several ransom demands were made by telephone to the bank and to the Drewer's home in the exclusive Chain Bridge Forest section of North Arlington, according to family, friends and police.
"As far as we know, the ransom payment was paid by the father, said Larry York, special agent in charge of the FBI's Alexandria field office. l
Sources said the payoff was made in the vicinity of the bank where the abduction took place.
Authorities also revealed few details about a possible suspect or suspects in the case. "We are not limiting the investigation to just one [suspect], it is possible that more than one individual was involved," York said.
Drewer was reported missing by bank officials after she failed to turn up for work. Her car was found later by police in the bank parking lot.
Arlington and Fairfax police and the FBI refused to say whether they had determined where Drewer had been held throughout the day. Investigative sources said a majority of the telephone calls were made "by a muffled male voice" who repeatedly cautioned that Drewer would not be harmed if the ransom was paid promptly and without police interference.
It was not immediately known whether the $50,000 demand was the initial figure agreed upon, or if other demands were originally involved.
FBI officials said that several charges, including kidnaping and extortion, could be brought in the case. Under the Hobbes Act, the FBI has jurisdiction over extortion incidents involving financial institutions.
Sources close to the family indicated that Drewer had been bound and blindfolded during her ordeal. Her mother, Susan, contacted by telephone at her Arlington home yesterday, said that her daughter was "fine," but refused to comment on other aspects of the case. Milton Drewer was unavailable for comment.
York denied an unconfirmed report that the FBI has observed the ransom payoff and subsequently lost the car in traffic.
"That's off base . . . In a kidnaping situation, it is up to the family of the victim to decide if they can and want to pay the ransom. It's up to them. If they insist that they don't want the FBI involved, then we honor that request." He said that kidnapers often threaten harm to a victim "if police are called in. And they [police] are concerned with her safety."
Asked if the Drewers had asked authorities to stay away from the payoff rendezvous, York said, "That was the case."
Officials said last night that a task force made up of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax police and the FBI will pursue the investigation.
Carol Drewer, the third of four children and the only daughter, lives with her parents in a neighborhood of $350,000 homes. Her father, 56, is a former president of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and served as head football coach at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg in the early 1960s. He became bank president in 1966.