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Medina resident accused of abducting infant son from Texas 23 years ago

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Daniel Kestel, aka Paul A. Bambanek, will be extradited to Texas

Daniel Kestel, pictured in 1992

ALBION – A Medina man is accused of kidnapping his infant son 23 years ago in Lorena, Texas. Daniel Kestel has been wanted on a warrant since 1992. He was arrested on Friday by the FBI and today he appeared in Orleans County Court, where he waived his rights to fight extradition, choosing not to challenge his return to Texas.

Orleans County Court Judge James Punch said authorities from Texas will pick up Kestel, also known as Paul A. Bambanek, within 30 days.

Kestel, now 58, is paying on a mortgage on a house at 579 East Ave. He told the judge he owes $46,000 on the mortgage for a house assessed for about $60,000. The judge assigned the public defender’s office for Kestel’s arraignment on a fugitive warrant.

Kestel acknowledged in court he has been using the alias of Paul A. Bambanek.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said he was notified by the FBI on Friday of Kestel’s arrest. Cardone doesn’t have information on how long Kestel has been living in Medina or the whereabouts of Keskel’s son, Justin, who is now 24.

The Waco Tribune-Herald interviewed Justin’s mother in a story published June 26, 2012 on the 20th anniversary of the abduction.

Karen Hunter said Dan Kestel became enraged when they were setting up the baby’s room. He threw a hammer at her 7-year-old son at the time, according to the newspaper.

Hunter moved out and the couple would divorce. Kestel moved to the Dallas area and worked in hotel maintenance. He was granted supervised visits with his son twice a month, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.

He allegedly abducted his son when Justin was 13 months old. Hunter didn’t see him after June 21, 1992.

Cardone said the FBI received a tip that Dan Kestel was living in Medina.

Kestel appeared in court today. He still has long hair, similar to his photo from 1992.

Cardone speculated that Kestel used a last name that was similar to Laurie Bembenek. She made national news in the early 1980s. Bembenek was a Playboy bunny, who became a police officer. She was convicted of murdering her husband’s ex-wife in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 28, 1981.

Bembenek gained national attention as “Run, Bambi, Run” after she escaped from prison and was recaptured in Canada. Her story inspired a TV movie.