Times of Oman
Oct 07, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 02:38 PM GMT
Up in flames
February 6, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Kimberly Antonakos was beautiful and she knew it. The 20-year-old daughter of a rich Greek-American family, know that in New York, wealth and beauty could buy a good time, and in the late winter of 1995, she was concentrating on living life to the full. During the day she studied business management at New York University, at night she was out until the early hours, clubbing and partying with a succession of handsome boyfriends.

When she dated someone and it didn't click — when she realised that she wasn't in love — she would swiftly move on. She wanted to have fun, to be in control, and some men couldn't handle that. They couldn't accept rejection from a woman. One who couldn't was Jay Negron, a 22-year-old out-of-work waiter, who had been dumped by Kim after a passionate affair lasting two months. "I hope we can still be friends," she had said when she gave him his marching orders, but Jay Negron would not forgive so easily. He loved Kim Antonakos, and had hoped to marry her. She was the best thing that had ever happened to him. Now his future had disintegrated, he was left with a lonely longing which would turn to cold hatred.

A few weeks later, Kim had forgotten about Jay Negron. She did not know that waiting was only a front for his real job. Nor could she have imagined that when she set out in her new white Honda at 11.30pm on March 1 — Ash Wednesday — for a Manhattan dancing club, that she would never see the light of day again. It was after 2.30am when Kim Antonakos returned alone to her apartment on New York's 87th Street, a three-roomed flat bought by her father and with its own basement garage with an automatic door.

She slowed down and activated the garage door which slowly opened in front of her. She hadn't noticed that two men had climbed out of a parked car and were now running towards her. As Kim drove the car into the garage, the men slipped in on either side as the door automatically closed. Kim switched off the engine and opened the car door. She had no idea she was not alone.

The heavy garage door muffled her screams from the outside world, but forensic tests later showed that Kim had fought fiercely as the men dragged her out of the car and on to the garage floor. Her attackers then bound Kim's mouth and eyes with two-inch wide sticky tape, trussed her with rope and threw her into the boot of her own car.

She was then driven out of New York into the neighbouring district of Queen's and carried into an empty basement of East 81st Street where she was robbed of her money and jewellery and, her eyes and mouth still taped, thrown into the corner of a damp outhouse. Kim was to be left there in freezing conditions without food or water, for the next three days.

Meanwhile her kidnappers were busy on the phone. Next morning Kim's father, millionaire Tommy Antonakos, found eight identical messages on his answerphone. If he wanted to see his daughter again, he must arrange to pay her abductors $100,000. Tommy Antonakos went to the police and within hours a major hunt was in progress. Hearing the news on TV, the kidnappers panicked. Their plot had failed. Tommy Antonakos had made it clear he had no intention of paying the ransom. The kidnappers decided to cut their losses and let Kim go. But it was to be another two days before they returned to the  basement on East 81st Street. At midnight on March 4, three of the gang returned to the basement. It had been snowing and the temperature in the outhouse was three below freezing when a flashlamp was shone on the huddled figure in the corner.

Kim Antonakos was apparently dead. A combination of suffocation, shock and hypothermia appeared to have resulted in a lonely agonising death. Now her killers had to decide what to do with the body. They agreed to burn the building down. An hour later they had soaked the basement in petrol and set fire to it. The full horror of the situation would only be revealed later when the body was subject to forensic examination.  Kim Ant

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