(SYDNEY) -- The family of the 18-year-old Australian girl who had a fake explosive device attached to her neck in an extortion attempt said they are greatly relieved after an Australian man was arrested in connection with the incident halfway around the world.
Paul Douglas Peters is now in federal custody after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team in La Grange, Kentucky, 30 miles northwest of Louisville. Two police officers from New South Wales were present at the time of the arrest.
At a press conference on Monday, William Pulver, the father of the victim Madeleine Pulver, made a statement on behalf of his daughter and their family.
"We are enormously relieved that an arrest has been made in the United States overnight. These past two weeks have been a very difficult time for us, and we hope that this development makes the beginning of the end for our family," he said, adding that the family will not be making any further immediate comment.
Sydney police say they identified Peters, an Australian who does business around the world, as the suspect last week and immediately contacted the FBI.
"Over the course of the last three or four days, the New South Wales police have been working very closely with the FBI in the U.S. The offender in this matter was identified and it was confirmed that he traveled to the United States in recent days," Andrew Sciopone, the New South Wales police commissioner in Sydney, said.
A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, was stunned when officers descended on the home.
"We looked outside and we saw a SWAT team with the machine guns and battle helmets circling the house, and we had no idea what was going on," the neighbor said.
FBI agents searched the house for most of Monday afternoon and night after arresting 50-year-old Peters, according to ABC News affiliate WHAS-11 in Louisville. Peters was living in Kentucky with his American ex-wife.
Police said that Peters does have family connections in the Louisville area and has previously lived in the United States. They said that he has been employed in several countries and has had history in several types of business.
The hunt for Peters began on Aug. 3 when the home of William Pulver, a wealthy CEO of an information technology company, was invaded by an intruder. Pulver's 18-year-old daughter Madeleine was studying for final exams when, according to New South Wales police, a man entered the home and attached the device to the girl's neck, along with a list of demands.
Madeleine Pulver spent 10 hours attached to the device before explosives experts determined to be fake. During the bomb scare, she was kept calm by four police officers inside the family home while her upscale neighborhood was evacuated.
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