By Richard Weizel
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (Reuters) - A Connecticut man in jail following the August disappearance of his parents will be charged with murdering them, with the help of his girlfriend, after two bodies found near their home were identified on Friday as the missing couple, state police said.
Kyle Navin, 27, who was arrested last month on a gun charge as police searched for his parents, appeared in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport earlier on Friday to ask a judge to release him on bail ahead of trial. The request was denied.
Noting that two bodies had been discovered by a homeowner in Westport just the day before, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Dayton said Navin was considered a suspect in the disappearance of Jeffrey Navin, 56, and Jeanette Navin, 55.
The discovery of the bodies, Dayton said, raises "the strong possibility he could be charged with murder."
With the identification of the bodies Friday night, Navin's bail was set at $2.5 million, and a warrant for his arrest charging him with murdering his parents was issued. He was expected to be arraigned shortly.
Navin's girlfriend, Jennifer Valiante, 31, of Westport, was arrested late Friday and charged in connection with the alleged murders. She is being held on $2 million bond.
Defense attorney Eugene Riccio did not directly address the possibility of a murder charge during court proceedings but argued that the one charge Navin does face - possessing a firearm while using illegal drugs - did not justify keeping him in custody.
Riccio declined to answer questions on his way out of court.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Garfinkel declared Navin would be kept in custody ahead of trial on the weapons charge, to which Navin has pleaded not guilty. That trial is currently scheduled to begin in February.
The charges came after a police search of Navin's home that allegedly turned up guns and narcotics.
Prosecutors have released a series of text messages between Navin and his father on the day the couple was last seen. In them, the father asked Navin if he had harmed his mother.
The missing couple's 2003 Dodge pickup had a bullet hole and traces of blood in it when found on Aug. 9 near a waste disposal business owned by Jeffrey Navin, prosecutors said.
Police said the couple had more than $2.2 million in debt at the time they vanished.
(Editing by Victoria Cavaliere)