Were they murdered for money?

February 6, 2008 4:41:52 PM PST
From the start of the case, the FBI has been exploring two possibilities: The couple was either kidnapped or someone murdered them in exchange for money.

Today, for the first time, the FBI said the evidence seems to suggest someone wanted them dead and paid for the killing.

The news comes nearly three years ago to the day 35-year-old Richard Petrone and 34-year-old Danielle Imbo disappeared without a trace. FBI spokesperson Jerry Williams confirmed that federal investigators feel increasingly certain that the couple became victims in a murder for hire plot.

"Because of the fact that for a kidnapping we haven't received a ransom request, no extortion, nothing to indicate that it was a kidnapping," said Williams.

On February 19, 2005, Imbo and Petrone left a bar on South Street headed to Imbo's home in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

Investigators believe they never made it there. Petrone's pick-up truck has also vanished, but the FBI said that this is by no means a cold case.

"We have gotten new leads and we've had old information and we're developing all that info right now," Williams said.

Both Imbo and Petrone were devoted parents to their respective children. Investigators have said that nothing about their lifestyles suggests they could become targets, but the FBI seems to think someone did want them dead and paid for it.

Petrone's parents spoke exclusively to Action News last week. They feel confident an arrest will be made.

"I believe that every day we get closer to someone spending the rest of their life in prison. That's what I think," said Richard Petrone Sr.

However, the FBI said that an arrest is not imminent. They did confirm that the investigation has taken them beyond Philadelphia and New Jersey, and into other states.

There is still a $100,000 reward for information leading to the couple's whereabouts.