Bahamas detains suspects in attempted Travolta extortion

January 24th, 2009 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Jan 24 (DPA) Police in the Bahamas have arrested three people believed to be involved in an attempt to blackmail US actor John Travolta over the death of his son Jett, reports said. Jett Travolta, 16, died in early January on the island, where the actor owns a home.

Ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne, Bahama Senator Pleasant Bridgewater and Obie Wilchcombe, a former tourism minister and acquaintance of the family, were detained and questioned by police but no charges had been filed, E!Online reported Friday.

Earlier this week, Travolta’s lawyers confirmed a blackmail attempt.

“Regrettably, in a time of such terrible grief, there are often a few individuals who attempt to make false claims in hopes of making millions of dollars. We will never let that happen,” a statement said.

According to the internet portal, the plot allegedly tried to exhort up to $20 million from the actor. Some unconfirmed media reports suggested that it involved a threat to release photos of the dying boy.

Wilchcombe acted as a family spokesman after Jett, son of Travolta, 54, and his wife Kelly Preston, 46, was found unconscious in the bathroom of the family’s holiday home in Grand Bahama on Jan 2. The boy, who had a history of seizures, died on the way to hospital.

His parents, said he suffered from Kawasaki disease, a rare illness that can cause heart problems. The couple also has an eight-year-old daughter, Ella.

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