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'Cannibal Cop' Conspirator Arrested for Allegedly Plotting to Kidnap Woman

By Andrea Swalec | January 4, 2013 4:37pm | Updated on January 4, 2013 7:05pm

MANHATTAN — The NYPD cop accused of plotting to cook and eat women didn't work alone — he allegedly plotted with a New Jersey man to kidnap a woman in exchange for a $5,000 fee, according to federal prosecutors and the FBI.

Michael Vanhise, 22, was arrested by the FBI Friday morning for allegedly making plans with accused "cannibal cop" Gilberto Valle to have Valle knock out a New York woman and deliver her to Vanhise's Hamilton, N.J., home, where she would be raped, according to federal court documents.

The pair also allegedly discussed kidnapping a girl under the age of 18, whose photos and purported address they exchanged, authorities said.

Vanhise was arraigned in Manhattan federal court Friday evening wearing sneakers, tattered jeans and a black T-shirt for the metal band Slipknot. When asked by Hon. Andrew J. Peck if he understood the proceedings, he said "yes" in a clear voice. 

Peck ordered Vanhise held over the weekend without bail until a hearing Monday morning.

Defense attorney Alice Fontier described Vanhise as a married, lifelong New Jersey resident who works as an auto mechanic and has a young son and a daughter born in December.

"He strikes me as a very vulnerable young man," Fontier said, declining to comment on the exchanges with Valle. 

Emails included in the criminal complaint against Vanhise detail his negotiations with Valle, a 28-year-old Forest Hills resident.

"About the price … would you do a payment plan or full up front?" Vanhise wrote.

"Full payment due at delivery," Valle replied. "Just so that you know, she may be knocked out where I get her to you. I don't know how long the solvent I am using will last, but I have to knock her out to get her out of her apartment safely."

Vanhise has been charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. If found guilty, he could spend life in prison. 

Valle, a father and six-year member of the NYPD, was arrested Oct. 25 for compiling a list of 100 women he knew and allegedly using federal and state law enforcement databases to get their personal information. He was charged with conspiracy to kidnap and with illegally using federal crime databases. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if found guilty.

Valle's lawyer, Julia Gatto, has described the detailed plot as "just fantasy," but prosecutors counter that he was on the verge of carrying out his plans.

Gatto attended Vanhise's arraignment and told reporters she believes Vanhise was arrested to prevent him from being a defense witness for alleged "cannibal cop" Valle.

"I have a client who the government has no evidence against," Gatto said. "[Vanhise] is being used as a pawn by the government to bolster what is a very weak case."

In a statement, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara hinted that there could be additional arrests of would-be cannibal co-conspirators.

“As alleged in the complaint, Michael Vanhise engaged in conduct that reads like a script for a bad horror film, but fortunately, neither he nor his co-conspirators were able to act out the twisted conspiracies described in the complaint in real-life," Bharara said. "His arrest today is the second in this bone-chilling case, but we are not finished.”