Abducted Briton found dead in swamp

Click to follow
The Independent US

The body of Paul Gale, 28, was found in a swamp last night, 10 days after the British computer consultant was kidnapped by a jealous love rival.

The grim discovery of Mr Gale's body, almost a fortnight after he was handcuffed and abducted from his hotel in Florence, Kentucky, by a man posing as an FBI agent, was made by detectives combing an area of muddy marshland known as Devil's Hill.

The FBI in Louisville, Kentucky, confirmed that Greg Marcinski, 23, from Red Bank, New Jersey, a former boyfriend of Mr Gale's girlfriend, had been arrested and charged with abducting him.

The body was found near the town of Brick, not far from Mr Marcinski's home.

Speaking from Mr Gale's parents' home in Erdington, Birmingham, his sister Julie, 35, said: "We are all inconsolable, there is no other word I can think of to describe how we feel at the moment.

"My parents are trying to be strong but they are just completely and utterly devastated, they can't stop crying," she said. "We always had that little bit of hope that Paul would be found, but that is gone now."

During the search for Mr Gale, his colleagues had been monitoring the internet in the hope that he might send them a message.

Mr Gale was a Florida resident, but had been working in Kentucky as a consultant for a local company. A colleague became worried when he failed to show up for appointments, and reported him missing. As police investigated, they uncovered a strange tale of deception, abduction and, ultimately, death.

Mr Gale had been dating Darla Guidie, a former girlfriend of Mr Marcinski, a computer technician and volunteer ambulanceman. When Mr Marcinski found out, he was enraged. He had a violent record - two former girlfriends had restraining orders against him, and he had been arrested last August for assaulting a former girlfriend and her new boyfriend. Police had also seized a gun at his home, and he had a conviction for handling stolen property.

Mr Marcinski contacted Mr Gale's client two weeks ago to find out where he was staying and then produced fake FBI papers. Ms Guidie said in an affidavit that he had "bragged that he had gotten the format for the phony FBI credentials off the internet."

Mr Marcinski took his grandmother's car and drove 800 miles from his home in the New Jersey suburbs to Florence, Kentucky, on 16 April, stopping only once to rest.

When he arrived at the Holiday Inn after midnight, he produced the FBI credentials, identifying himself to the hotel manager, John Secret, as "Agent Trimble".

Mr Gale was a participant in the federal witness protection program, he told Mr Secret. He went to his rival's room, and returned to the car with Mr Gale in handcuffs; he was never seen alive again. At about 3am, someone rang Ms Guidie from Mr Gale's cellular phone, but she did not hear it ring.

After Mr Gale's mysterious disappearance was reported, Mr Marcinski called a federal agent in Kentucky and admitted that he had gone to meet Mr Gale to "clear the air," as he put it. They had talked, and driven around the area for a few hours, he said, claiming that he left Mr Gale in a hotel car park near Cincinati airport.

Mr Gale's twin brother, Peter, another brother, Mark, and his sister, Rita, flew to the US to help with the search, but hope had faded as the police closed in on Mr Marcinski.