This is the true story of a parental kidnapping, (a recording of events) of how a child can be "taken" by a parent and "hidden" from the other parent for 48 days. This is the record of our thoughts, feelings and actions during these 48 days and beyond. Please keep in mind that this is OUR story and as such is colored by our feelings and thoughts.
The first five days the question "Where is Brian?" was asked over and over with the same results. The question was asked of Brian's father, of his grandfather and of his father's friends. The question was asked the day after the arrest by my daughter's attorney at the courthouse where criminal damage charges were filed against Brian's father. It was also asked by my daughter the night before of the father's friends. The only answers received back were: "He is not with me" and "I don't know." For five days, no one knew where Brian was, no one saw him and no one spoke to him. Brian was four years old.
How long is five days to a child? How long is 48 days to a child? What does a child think when his mommy "disappears," when his mommy does not talk to him or see him? As traumatic as this was for my daughter to go through, how much more would it be for a small child to deal with? Brian's familiar and normal life was up-rooted overnight. He was not able to go home to his own familiar room, he did not have his clothing or toys or his own bed to sleep in, and he had absolutely no contact with his friends, his relatives or his mother.
My daughter's fears during this 48 day period of time was that Brian would be taken out of state and that she would never see him again. Although my daughter did finally learn that Brian was with the grandparents and she did make phone contact with Brian briefly after 5 days, the fear of Brian being spirited out of state was still a very real and valid fear. The grandparent's roots were in California and they were in Arizona only for the winter before returning to their California home for summer. Having a motor home capable of extended travel , and the financial capability to do so meant these grandparent's would have the means to secret Brian away and hide him from my daughter..perhaps forever. Past threats of this by Brian's father gave a sense of urgency to my daughter's fear of Brian being taken out state and hidden away.
During these 5 days and the 43 days that followed, my daughter continued to work, to deal with the urgency of trying to locate Brian, to arrange for a divorce and to handle the multitude of problems that goes along with the divorce process. The urgency of needing to know where Brian, of needing to know he was still in the state focused all our thought on trying to locate Brian. During these five days and the many other times we "lost contact" with Brian, our hours were filled with making phone calls, of pleading with people to let us know for sure where Brian was, and of driving for hours in the neighborhood just hoping for a glimpse of Brian. Yes, I know the chances that that were very slim..but everyone does have to shop for groceries and there was a slim hope that we would be in the right spot at the right time.
My own after - work hours and the weekends were spent "staking out" the various places that Brian have been "hidden" in. Another slim chance, but I needed to be able to do something. It gave a purpose to my life -- this attempt to locate Brian. I needed to keep busy during this time and the other times that followed and attempting to catch visual sight of Brian, to verify that he was still in the state, seemed the only way that I could contribute to my daughter's search.
"Valuable lessons are learned during times of extreme stress." I believe I read that on a bathroom wall somewhere. Well, experience is also gained during times of extreme stress. I now know how difficult a job "staking out a neighborhood" can be. My only experience at "stake outs" came from many years of television watching. Looks easy on television, doesn't it? Well, television never has been and never will be "real life." Take my advice and avoid "stakes outs" if at all possible, especially if you are over 50 years of age. Stake outs are only for younger persons with extremely good kidneys. And never, NEVER take along a thermos of coffee! I only lasted five hours before having to make a run for a bathroom!
I am amazed and also gratified to learn that there really are neighborhood watches! They do work! During my five hour neighborhood watch at this particular place I met a very nice woman. I was parked across the street from her house and she finally came over and wanted to know what I was doing there. I was very lucky she didn't call the police first and ask questions later. (During a stake out .. do carry pictures, and make sure you have lots of identification with you also.) After I explained the situation she exchanged phone numbers with me and promised to call if or when she spotted Brian in that neighborhood. Neither she nor I spotted Brian in this area of town at any time. In a way, that was disappointing, but it did cut one area out of our search pattern.
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