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EX-EXXON EMPLOYEE, WIFE CHARGED WITH KIDNAPPING

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A former Exxon security manager and his wife have been formally charged with kidnapping missing Exxon Co. International President Sidney Reso and trying to collect $15 million in ransom.

A federal grand jury Thursday handed up a six-count indictment naming Arthur and Irene Seale, both 45, of Lebanon Township in rural Hunterdon County. If convicted of kidnapping, the couple face life prison terms.Reso, who disappeared April 29 after leaving his home in Morris Township to drive to his office in Florham Park, is still missing. Investigators said Thursday that they must continue to work on the assumption that he is alive and continue to search for him.

FBI spokesman Bill Tonkin said Reso is believed to be still in New Jersey.

"As time goes on, hope would tend to wane," Tonkin said.

The Seales were arrested Friday as they returned a rental car. They allegedly made numerous telephone calls from pay telephones, attempting to set up a ransom drop.

At a detention hearing Monday, U.S. Attorney Michael Chertoff said a search of the Seales' house found evidence the couple planned to leave the country. Arthur Seale had recently applied for and received a passport and had a small library of books on countries with no extradition treaties with the United States.

The Seales are being held without bail.

The indictment includes charges of kidnapping, extortion, conspiracy, using the mails to transmit ransom letters and interstate travel in aid of extortion.

Seale, a former Hillside police officer, joined Exxon after retiring on disability. He left Exxon in 1987.