IN THE RURAL pines of Burlington County, Kenneth Lamon Patterson grew up in a big, God-fearing household, where life's lessons were learned next door in the church his family built.

Somehow, Kenny didn't learn.

"I don't know how he wound up choosing a life of crime," said his brother Irving, a former New Jersey Department of Corrections employee. "He became the problem child of the family."

Kenneth Patterson, 48, remains in a Mount Holly jail 12 miles from his former home in Shamong Township, refusing to tell authorities the whereabouts of his ex-girlfriend, Diane Corado, 57.

Patterson is accused of abducting Corado and a female friend early Sunday after forcing his way into Corado's apartment in Falls Township, Bucks County, and striking her with a pipe, police said.

Corado's 2004 Pontiac Aztek turned up later that day on a Camden street, and Patterson was arrested that night in one of two rooms he had rented at the Clover Motel, on Route 73, in Maple Shade, Burlington County.

Corado was nowhere to be found, police said, but blood was found in the car and in the motel room.

Patterson released Corado's friend, who told police he had planned to kill himself and his ex.

Patterson, who has a daughter in college, is charged with kidnapping and assault, but hasn't cooperated with police, and is fighting extradition to Bucks County.

Police on both sides of the Delaware River have spent days searching for Corado, in waterfront parks where the couple went in happier times, back in Shamong where his family still lives, and in the slim, littered patches of wilderness that run alongside highways.

"It's coming to the end," Lt. Henry Ward, of the Falls Township Police, said yesterday morning outside the station.

Later, Ward and more than a dozen officers gathered in a parking lot near the Pennsylvania Turnpike with barking K-9 dogs waiting in patrol cars.

Ward's team spent the morning searching a stretch of the turnpike, not far from the river.

Ward said Patterson's car was seen in the area on Sunday and police believe he would have taken the turnpike to get there.

He declined to elaborate.

"He's been here and he's been in a lot of different places in New Jersey," Ward said.

Irving Patterson, who lives in Georgia, said in a phone interview with the Daily News yesterday that his brother had "issues" with women and that no one in their large family had been able to influence him.

"For him to do this, from our family, we're really embarrassed," he said.

"I feel sorry for Diane and her family. My heart goes out to them. I wish she never met my brother."

Kenneth Patterson has been in jail before - for a nearly identical crime.

In 2008, the Times of Trenton reported that Patterson had forced a former girlfriend into her car the previous year after breaking a window.

The woman, bleeding from the head, later jumped from the moving car and ran to a nearby house for help.

Patterson, who already had a lengthy criminal record including convictions for robbery, burglary and theft, was released from prison last January.

According to a Facebook profile, the Lenape High School graduate claimed he had been employed as a forklift operator at a BJ's Wholesale Club in Bucks County.

At a news conference Sunday, police described the relationship between Patterson and Corado as "rocky."

Corado's son urged his mother to be strong and pleaded with Patterson to let her go, to let her attend his upcoming wedding and have some semblance of a Christmas.