Second man nabbed in Forest Hills cannibal case

By Steve Mosco

A New Jersey man was arrested last week in connection with an NYPD officer from Forest Hills who is accused of a gruesome plot to cook and eat a number of woman after raping and torturing them, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan said.

And in a depraved twist to an already grisly case, prosecutors alleged Monday that the New Jersey man offered up his two nieces for rape in a fetish chat room.

Authorities said Michael Vanhise, 22, of Hamilton, N.J., was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping after details emerged that he allegedly agreed to pay suspected co-conspirator Gilberto Valle, 28, an active NYPD officer from Forest Hills, to kidnap a woman and bring her to New Jersey, where the suspect would allegedly rape her, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

During his bail hearing, prosecutors alleged that Vanhise sent a photo of his wife’s 7-year-old niece to two individuals in a chat room, offering her and her 9-year-old sister for rape. Vanhise was denied bail.

As for Vanhise’s connection with Valle, authorities said the two negotiated and allegedly agreed that Valle would kidnap a victim for $5,000 in a February 2012 e-mail. According to the criminal complaint, Valle planned to render the victim unconscious, bind her hands and feet, gag her, stuff her into a large suitcase and deliver her to Vanhise’s home.

“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 Monday. “His arrest today is the second in this bone-chilling case, but we are not finished.”

Vanhise is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

“The seriousness of the alleged conspiracy is self-evident,” said George Venizelos, the Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director-in-charge. “No effort to characterize the defendant’s actions is necessary. The factual allegations more than suffice to convey the depravity of the offense.”

Authorities said Valle allegedly conspired with a number of individuals to carry out the cannibalistic plot on about 100 women he had collected information on, using his position as an NYPD officer to access a database called the National Crime Information Center to gain additional information on his targets.

Valle was arrested in October and faces charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and accessing the database without authorization and obtaining information from a U.S. department and agency, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

In September, the FBI learned of online communications between Valle and a number of people who were discussing the abductions.

In one instance, Valle told an unidentified person, “I was thinking of tying her body to some kind of apparatus … cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible,” according to the criminal complaint.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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