SEABROOK — Robert E. April, a person of interest in the 8-year-old disappearance case of Curt Pishon, is being held without bail on a separate criminal threatening charge for an incident in which he admitted killing Pishon and burying his body, according to court documents.
April, 40, of 6 Janvrin Drive, Seabrook, was arraigned yesterday at Hampton District Court in Seabrook for assaulting and threatening to kill the teenage brother of a man who owes April $30, according to police.
Seabrook police Lt. Michael Gallagher confirmed yesterday he had spoken with April since his arrest Tuesday, and that April is a person of interest in the Pishon case.
Police say April was working at Seabrook-based Venture Corp. when Pishon disappeared the night of July 5, 2000, although April said in court yesterday he is presently on disability. Police believe Pishon's disappearance involves foul play.
"We'll be looking closely at the information we just received and try to determine if there's enough for a search warrant and where that search might take place," said Gallagher, who in recent months reopened the investigation into Pishon's disappearance. "The investigation is still ongoing, and we're speaking to as many people as we can. There is more than one person of interest."
During yesterday's arraignment, Seabrook police Prosecutor Scott Mendes claimed that during the incident Tuesday involving April, he told his victim he'd taken 40 Valium and was ready to kill. Mendes said when arrested, April was read his Miranda rights then agreed to answer questions. Mendes did not elaborate in court what those questions were.
According to the arrest affidavit from Seabrook Officer Mark Richardson, he and Officer Frank Brown took the complaint against April filed by the victim and a relative about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday night. The victim told police that April approached him about 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday on Collins Street in Seabrook and assaulted him by grabbing him by the shirt.
He then said, according to the affadavit: "When I see your brother boy I'm gonna slice his throat and nobody will find his body just like the missing person from Seabrook, ya that's right I (expletive) killed him and your brother is next and nobody will find ... an ounce of blood. I buried him in my yard, and your brother's next."
According to the affidavit, the victim said April told him he was lucky he was young or April would have shot him on Collins Street.
"(The victim) stated that April told him he would kill you so badly you'll be on the news for a whole year," Richardson noted in his affidavit. "(The victim) stated that April told him that he would be at (his) house tonight with his family and they would have AK-47s and shotguns."
According to the affidavit, when the victim offered to pay April the $30, April refused, responding he'd just kill the family.
In court yesterday, April told Judge Francis Frasier he was owed $30 by the victim's brother but denied threatening him.
"I never threatened no 16-year-old; this family is sue happy," April told Frasier. "I wouldn't grab no 16-year-old kid; I haven't been drinking in almost two years. I have a 16-year-old daughter. I just wouldn't do this."
Frasier did not set bail for April on the threatening case, saying he wants a psychological evaluation indicating April isn't a threat to himself or others before doing so. He also requested a drug screen to see if April is using substances that could lead him to be a danger.
A probability cause hearing on the simple assault and criminal threatening charges brought against April is scheduled for Nov. 3, when the court will determine if there is enough evidence to bind the felony case over for possible indictment by a Rockingham County grand jury.
In July, police and the Pishon's family launched a new initiative in that case, including a $6,000 reward for anyone coming forward with information leading to the conviction of those responsible for Pishon's disappearance.
Gallagher confirmed the leads point to "persons of interest" who he believes killed the 41-year-old Pishon after he stumbled across criminal activity during his shift at Venture in the early morning hours of July 5, 2000.
"We have information in the form of anonymous tips," Gallagher said in July. "We've gotten enough information to piece together what we think happened that night. Now we need people with direct information to come forward with a statement that can give us probable cause to get the dangerous people responsible for Curt's death off the streets of Seabrook."
Gallagher urges those with information to contact the Pishon family Web site www.findcurt.com, or call the police at 603-474-5200 or its anonymous Crime Line at 603-474-2640.