MILWAUKEE – With Manishkumar Patel now an apparent fugitive, Outagamie County authorities are moving to revoke the $750,000 cash bond that freed the attempted-murder suspect.
Patel, 34, is accused of lacing his girlfriend's drink with an abortion drug. The Town of Kaukauna businessman faces seven felony charges, including attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child, and two misdemeanors. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 99 1/2 years in prison and a $92,000 fine.
Terms of the bond required Patel to check in with a reporting center twice a week. Patel, who also goes by Manish, last complied on Dec. 20.
He was permitted to skip his Dec. 25 check-in, but he never showed up to his Dec. 27 date. An arrest warrant was issued the next day.
Patel also failed to report on Thursday, his most recently scheduled check-in day.
Carrie Schneider, the Outagamie County district attorney, called Patel's disappearance frustrating and disappointing.
"You hope when people are released on bond and post that amount of cash, they take that seriously," she said. "I just hope in time the wheels of justice keep turning and the case is able to proceed."
She said she would ask the court this week to schedule a forfeiture hearing, the first step in seizing the $750,000. If the court rules in favor of the county, those who put up the money will have 30 days to argue for getting the money back.
If Patel has fled, Schneider said, his financial supporters won't have a strong case for having their money returned.
"The forms they sign when they post bond are clear," she said. "They knew the risks when they made the posting."
The name signed on the bond form was Atul Patel of Green Bay, identified by Manish Patel's lawyer as a friend of his client.
When contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday, a man who identified himself on the phone as Atul Patel said, "I don't have any comments on that, OK?" and hung up.
It wasn't immediately clear how much of the $750,000 came from Patel himself and how much from his family and friends. Police said the amount was paid with $56,000 in cash and $694,000 in cashiers checks, not all of which had a name on them.
Police Lt. Doug Verheyen estimated the total was paid with 15 to 20 checks, in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $115,000, as well as 20 to 25 money orders in the amount of $1,000 each.
According to a criminal complaint, Patel prepared numerous meals for his pregnant girlfriend last autumn. One drink was found to contain a powder identified as the abortion drug RU-486.
The woman claimed Patel spiked the drink while they were out the night of Sept. 17, but since she never drank it, it wasn't connected to the miscarriage she suffered 13 days later.
She also had a miscarriage in late 2006 she suspects was caused by Patel, according to the complaint.
Patel runs service stations and other businesses in the area. He is married to another woman but he and the girlfriend have a 3-year-old son.
Patel's lawyer, Thomas Zoesch, said Wednesday he didn't know where his client was and last heard from Patel Dec. 19.
He said he planned to coordinate with prosecutors ahead of a preliminary hearing scheduled Jan. 30 to discuss possible next steps in the case.
"As his lawyer of record, I would appeal to him to contact me — he knows how to reach me, he has all my numbers — come forward and turn himself in," he said. "We'll address the legal issues one by one."
Some have speculated that Patel returned to his native India, even though his passport had been revoked.
Schneider said she alerted law enforcement in neighboring states, as well as federal officials, of Patel's disappearance. She filed paperwork with the FBI to initiate extradition hearings if he is arrested overseas, she said.
"At this point we don't have any information on where he would be," FBI spokesman Leonard Peace said. "Once the paperwork clears, then the investigation really gets under way."