A Manhattan judge last week dismissed a Utah fugitive warrant for the arrest and return of Sante and Kenneth Kimes, the mother and son who are suspects in the disappearance of a wealthy Manhattan widow.

Criminal Court Judge Gabriel Gorenstein dismissed the warrant at the request of Assistant District Attorney Carmen Morales, but he noted that a Utah request to detain the Kimeses on a bad check charge stands.The dismissal of the warrant means Utah will not try to extradite the Kimeses until New York authorities are through prosecuting them, but Utah's rubber check charge against the pair remains in effect.

Sante Kimes, 63, and her son Kenneth, 23, are jailed without bail on a New York charge of credit card fraud involving about $700. Their lawyers say the charge is a pretext to hold the Kimeses while investigators try to link them to the disappearance of their wealthy land-lady, Irene Silverman, 82.

The Kimeses were arrested July 5 on the Utah fugitive warrant. They were accused of writing a bad check for $14,900 to buy a Lincoln Town Car. They became suspects in Silverman's disappearance after police found several of the missing woman's personal and financial documents in that car.

One of the Kimeses' lawyers, Mel Sachs, said Tuesday that although prosecutors have "only the barest, weakest circumstantial case" in the Silverman case, he expects a grand jury to indict the Kimeses soon.

Meanwhile, Sachs said, he will ask the Court of Appeals, the state's highest tribunal, to set a reasonable bail for his clients. Judges in the lower courts have refused to do so, citing Sante Kimes' criminal history and saying the two are flight risks.