After the murder of her fiancée, the traffic from the drug dealing that had occurred across the street seemed to stop.
Her mother, who frequently took care of her kids, had moved into the basement of the house. Another woman and her two children also moved in.
From time-to-time, the mother would be sitting out front watching the younger children and would respond if you initiated the conversation. There was no doubt that she was a special-needs adult. She seemed to be mildly retarded. She just didn’t seem to have control of herself, let alone the children. She mostly yelled at them and frequently spanked the younger ones when they got out of line. She would get into verbal swearing matches with the older kids who just seemed to ignore her.
They did pretty much as they pleased.
Over the subsequent few months, I saw various police and county employees coming and going. The only reason I knew this, is that her daughter was friends of the next door neighbor lady’s daughter and she would relay this information to her. The oldest daughter had been suspended and kicked out of school for some infraction, but it was never clear what this was.
One summer day, the mother walked across the street while I was working on my yard and confronted me as to why I had turned my dogs loose on her grand children as they rode there bikes down the street.
I stood there and stared at her in disbelief as to what it was she was accusing me of doing.
I own two basset hounds. If there not sleeping they are eating. That pretty much sums up the extent of their day.
Of course I denied her accusation. I attempted to find out the details of what she believed occurred, but she became very defensive and left in a huff.
I was dumbfounded.
After that, whenever I was out in the yard at the same time the children were there with their grandmother, they would shout abusive remarks at me, calling me a liar. I never engaged in a verbal argument with them because I knew it would just escalate into something ugly.
Besides, how do you defend the truth? I hadn’t done anything and my conscience was clear.
Anyway, if you would have seen my basset hounds it was obvious the only thing they ran to do, was eat.
All summer there were incidents like this of the kids falsely accusing us of various things and making a scene in front of their grandmother.
I simply ignored them, and never responded to any of the heckling.
I work a split shift driving bus and have a run I do in the afternoon rush hour when I leave for about two thirty every day. I was at work on a ten minute layover at the end of one of my trips when I received a phone call from my business partner. His voice was excited as he attempted to describe the scene across the street from our house. There were helicopters overhead, reporters, several TV crews and a few police cars. He said one television station was just finishing an interview with the grandmother and oldest daughter, while another one was positioned waiting to do an interview. When I asked what was going on, he said he only had a vague idea and which he had gathered from speaking with a TV camera crew.
The guy said that the oldest daughter, who is thirteen, was playing on the north side of the house when a older man in a red car pulled up and tried forcing her into the car and driving away.
I interrupted and blurted out, “That is a dam lie! “Don’t believe it or fall for it for one minute. I know she made it up. She’s looking for attention.” I then reminded him of all the lies that they had said about us and our dogs.
“I have to get back to work but I would be home soon.” I hung up the phone.
I was doing a slow burn as I was driving; I could hardly concentrate. I was so angry. Over the last five years we had worked so hard to build relationships, fix eye sores, do numerous remodeling projects, and finding friends to buy houses in this area. We had formed an effective close-knit block club. The “north” side of Minneapolis already had a notorious reputation for violent crime. Granted, that was the far north area. We were about 20 blocks from the most dangerous areas. Never-the-less, we had our challenges. Although we didn’t have the weekly murders, we had our share of trouble.
We had worked very hard to make a safe welcoming neighborhood. We didn’t deserve to get all the media attention that I knew would come from the coverage of the alleged child kidnapping.
I just knew in my heart-of-hearts that this was a total fabrication.
And I resented it.
The only question I had was, how I was going to prove this and what would be my next step.
I was at work when this abduction was to have taken place. I normally am home during the majority of the weekday because of my split shifts. Being the block captain I am well aware of what goes on throughout the day in our neighborhood.
Finally, I my shift ended. I couldn’t wait to get home. On the way home, I was listening to updates on the radio to this alleged child abduction. The details were vague. One detail really caught me when the news announcer said, “The thirteen year old girl described the man as short, well built and strong. He drove an older four-door red car.
I drove a burgundy car.
I am only 5’8 and a stocky farm boy who was still in very good shape.
I went numb in disbelief. I was in shock after hearing this.
I knew what I was going to do. It wasn’t even a question anymore.
I called the police.
I wanted to talk to the chief who was busy giving radio and TV interviews getting the suspect’s description and vehicle information out to the public.
I called the police department. I told the operator that I had some information I felt they should have regarding the alleged child abduction.
She put me right through to a captain who had been assigned the case.
He answered the phone identifying himself as the captain in charge of the investigation.
I gave him my full name and address, pointing out the alleged kidnapping took place directly across the street from where I lived. The next words out of my mouth were, “I don’t believe for one minute this abduction happened, I am convinced the whole story had been made up.”
There was silence on the other end.
I then proceeded to tell him why. I give him four very specific documentable incidents. I detailed incidents that involved this girl and her family over fabricated accusation they had made about people in our neighborhood.
I then offered to have him, or whoever he wanted, interview me in person and to check out my “burgundy “car. I also offered to prove I was at work during the time of this alleged incident. He said that that wouldn’t be necessary. He then added that they were following all leads and that there were a lot of holes and inconsistencies to her story. He was very happy I had contacted him and told me he would get back to me if necessary.
It was close to 7 pm, about an hour later, that the television cameras started showing up again to get ready to do a live shot for the late news. By now, most of the neighborhood was standing in our front yard watching the commotion from the television crews.
I had noticed there was one person missing from this whole fiasco; the mother. There was no sign of her.
All the TV interviews only involved the grandmother and the child who was supposedly the victim of this abduction.
In the TV interviews the grandmother was doing all the talking. She was praising her granddaughter who had reported the whole incident to her, for her quick thinking and reaction to the alleged kidnapper. During this TV interview the thirteen old sat motionless on her lap licking a sucker and grasping a stuffed animal.
No sign of the mother.
While we were gathered in our front yard, the mother emerged from a car which had just arrived.
She got out, hollered at the kids in the yard and asked where the oldest daughter was. She was the one who was allegedly abducted.
“She’s in the house with grandma.” They answered.
The mother demanded, “Tell her she is grounded for lying. I will deal with her when I get home.” She then said to the kids, “I’m going to a basketball game.” She got in the car and drove off.
I remember thinking to myself, if my daughter had been involved in an incident as serious as a possible abduction, I would want to be with her. At the very least, I would take the time to see how she was doing!
It just confirmed what I already knew.
I attempted to talk to the TV crews and relayed my thoughts about this whole made up incident. I gave them some of the details why I thought this. I invited them to call the police department to confirm that I had reported this, suggesting that they inquire whether the police had found anything new, or had some of the same suspicions.
In time and after several phone calls, three of the four TV stations left. Only one of the stations remained to do a live broadcast.
I told the producer I understood their decision but felt it was irresponsible journalism to keep featuring this story until more facts could support what was alleged.
He said he agreed with me, but a much higher pay-grade than him made the decision to broadcast it live.
I went to bed.
The next morning our local police department had a news conference to update the public on the alleged abduction. It was a simple two sentence statement.
It read: “After further investigation of the alleged abduction, we have concluded that it never happened. We consider the investigation closed at this time.”
I knew it all along.
This time I had a plan to end all this for good.
I started on it that night.
copy write all rights reserved D.Jerzak 04-01-07