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A juror in a federal trial involving the disappearance of a 6-year-old Las Vegas boy says the prosecution would have lost the case if the government had continued to pursue kidnapping charges.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday that Emma Garcia said the jury would have acquitted Jose Lopez-Buelna and Luis Vega-Rubio of kidnapping and hostage-taking charges if given the chance.

Garcia told the Review-Journal the jury did not believe the men abducted Cole Puffinburger.

Defense attorneys had argued his family staged the kidnapping to get their hands on drug money stolen by the boy’s grandfather.

Lopez-Buelna and Vega-Rubio pleaded guilty to drug charges Wednesday under a deal offered by prosecutors.

A Las Vegas bus driver found Cole unharmed days after he went missing in October 2008.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press


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