2 men allegedly planned to torture, kill women and children

April 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM
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NEW YORK, April 16 (UPI) -- A police chief with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a school librarian conspired to kidnap, torture and kill women and children, investigators say.

The FBI arrested Richard Meltz, chief of police for the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Mass., and Robert Christopher Asch, a former high school librarian in New York, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said Monday.

"The bone-chilling conduct alleged in this complaint is a chronicle of sadism and depravity that includes the defendants' very real steps to carry out their plans to kidnap, torture, rape, and kill the women and children they targeted," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Meltz and Asch allegedly conspired with Michael Vanhise, who was arrested in January and is already under indictment. Vanhise was allegedly involved in the activities of Gilberto Valle, the so-called cannibal cop, a New York police officer convicted of planning to kill and eat women.

Meltz, Asch and Vanhise allegedly used email and instant messages to discuss kidnapping and killing Vanhise's wife, as well as his sister-in-law and her children, prosecutors said.

Critics have suggested Valle and others could end up in prison for what were essentially thought crimes, elaborate online discussions of fantasies they would never have carried out.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos said Asch and Meltz went beyond fantasy.

"As alleged, both of these defendants took affirmative steps to carry out the conspiracy to kidnap and torture women," he said. "Their actions were not confined to talking about these ghoulish plans. They acquired the tools to accomplish the deed, including a Taser and the chemical means to anesthetize their victims. And they made detailed plans to use these instruments -- plans that were foiled by the FBI's intervention."

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