KANKAKEE, ILL., SEPT. 5 -- Former mass-media executive Stephen B. Small, who was kidnaped for a $1 million ransom, died after being buried alive in a wooden box in a shallow grave, police said today.

Two men and a woman have been arrested in the case. They were identified by Illinois State Police Director Jeremy Margolis as Daniel J. Edwards, 30, and Nancy D. Rish, 26, both of nearby Bourbonnais, and Kent F. Allain, 33, of Kankakee.

The three were in Kankakee County Jail and are expected to be arraigned Tuesday. At least two others are being sought in the case.

Kankakee Police Chief Timothy Nugent said Small's body was found about 10 p.m. Friday inside a homemade wooden box buried four feet under sandy ground in a rural area about 13 miles southeast of Kankakee, which is about 60 miles south of Chicago.

The makeshift coffin was equipped with a ventilation system, apparently rigged to allow Small to breathe, and contained a plastic jug of water and a light powered by two car batteries. Cause of death was not known, but Kankakee County Coroner James Orrison speculated that Small suffocated or may have suffered a heart attack.

Orrison said Small was "definitely buried alive."

Small, 39, member of a wealthy Kankakee family and great-grandson of an Illinois governor, was abducted Wednesday by kidnapers who demanded a $1 million ransom.

Edwards and Rish were arrested at the home they share in Bourbonnais about 10 a.m. Friday, Nugent said. Allain was arrested later. {The Associated Press quoted an official who spoke on condition he not be identified as saying that one or more of the suspects helped locate Small's body and his car.}

Search crews using aircraft spotted Small's car at about 7 p.m. Friday in the rural Kankakee County area, Nugent said. Nearby, searchers on the ground discovered the grave and body.

Small was kidnaped after being lured from his Kankakee home about 12:25 a.m. Wednesday by a caller who identified himself as a police officer, Nugent said. The caller claimed that a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building Small had been renovating had been broken into or vandalized.

At about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Small's wife, Nancy, received a call from a man saying that Small had been kidnaped and demanding $1 million ransom, Nugent said. Later calls were made Wednesday by the kidnapers to Nancy Small, and the final call was received by his aunt, Jean Alice Small. A man described as having a foreign accent ranted for about 20 minutes, charging that the family had double-crossed the kidnapers by alerting police.

Edwards and Rish were reportedly arrested after one of Small's neighbors, a Kankakee County deputy sheriff, noticed a van with the front bumper missing in front of Small's home the night before he was kidnaped. After the deputy learned of the kidnaping, authorities traced the van to the Bourbonnais couple.

Small, former vice president of a radio-television conglomerate called Mid America Media, was the great-grandson of Len Small, Illinois governor in 1921-25. His uncle, Len H. Small, was publisher of the Kankakee Daily Journal and the head of the Small Newspaper Group until his death in 1980.