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Arrest made in killing of abducted New York real estate developer

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A man was arrested in the killing of a real-estate developer who was abducted as he left his office during a snowstorm and whose body was found dumped in a trash bin miles away, police said Wednesday.

Kendel Felix was arrested on a murder charge in the death of Menachem Stark, a father of seven and prominent member of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect who owned and renovated several buildings in Brooklyn but owed millions of dollars.

It was unclear Wednesday if Felix, a Brooklyn resident, had a lawyer, and he was in custody and couldn't be reached for comment. A police spokesman did not give a motive for the slaying, nor did he say if there were any other suspects in custody.

Surveillance footage shows Stark being strong-armed into a minivan the night of Jan. 2. One of his brothers-in-law contacted the Hasidic community's volunteer neighbourhood patrol, the shomrim, when he didn't return home.

When the patrol members found his car and his office locked, they checked surveillance camera footage and then called police. His burned body turned up a day later in a smouldering trash bin in suburban Long Island.

Stark, 39, has been described as an honest family man eager to help his neighbours and friends, a man who had no enemies. But he's also been called a slumlord. Some of his buildings were in disrepair, and he owed millions of dollars to creditors and had declared bankruptcy in 2009.

He lived in a stately brick building in Williamsburg, a neighbourhood where hipsters in skinny jeans live alongside ultra-Orthodox men with ear locks and fur hats and women in modest dresses.

Brooklyn is home to the largest group of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. Stark came from a large family, and his funeral was flooded with mourners.

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