By Richard Weizel
MILFORD, Conn. (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday postponed a hearing to determine whether a Connecticut man who police arrested as a person of interest in their investigation of the disappearance of his parents last month can be released from custody ahead of his trial on gun charges.
Kyle Navin, 27, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with breaking a U.S. law prohibiting users of illegal drugs from owning guns after federal prosecutors said they found firearms, ammunition, traces of heroin and drug paraphernalia during two searches of his Bridgeport home.
The searches were part of the probe into the disappearance of his parents, Jeffrey Navin, 56, and Jeanette Navin, 55, who were last seen on Aug. 4.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Garfinkel granted the defense team's request to delay the hearing, according to court records. A new date for the hearing has not yet been scheduled.
If convicted, Navin could face up to 10 years in prison.
The couple's 2003 Dodge pickup was found in a commuter lot in Westport on Aug. 9 off a major parkway near a garbage-disposal business that Jeffrey Navin owns. Police said a bullet hole and blood were found in the truck.
Police said they learned the couple had more than $2.2 million in debt at the time they vanished.
Kyle Navin's lawyer, Eugene Riccio, could not be reached for comment.
Investigators became suspicious when Navin, operations manager at his father's company, disappeared for about a week after being interviewed by detectives. Police found him staying with friends in Westport.
Prosecutors on Wednesday also released a series of text messages between Kyle Navin and his father they said were exchanged the day the couple was last seen, in which the father asks his son if he harmed his mother and was trying to frame him for murder.
The exchange contradicts earlier statements by Kyle Navin that he and his father only discussed work the day the couple disappeared, prosecutors said.
"I'm not going home till I know mom is okay," Jeffrey Navin texted his son at 12:39 p.m. on Aug. 4. Three minutes later, he added, "Did you hurt mom?"
His son responded, "No absolutely not. Why would you think?"
(Editing by Scott Malone and Sandra Maler)