10/20/05 “We are Going to Find Erik”
We first told the story of Erik in “The Cutest Little Boy”, originally posted on 9/26/05.
That evening, Erik’s website had 155 hits. Today it has 6,062 hits. That is a testament to our readers and everyone else who gave this little boy a place in their hearts. Thank you.
What follows is my interview with Robert, which will update you on the progress being made, and let you know how you can help, whether it’s for the first time, or if you did prior. Let’s bring the Cutest Little Boy home!
What has transpired since The Cutest Little Boy story came out on the blog?
Several things. First of all three more angels have come into my life. Their names are Kimberly, Stacey and Christine. All are volunteers with http://www.websleuths.com/. Erik’s beautiful angels calling themselves names he would love such as “Choochoomamma,” have done some amazing things. These amazing things have ranged from investigation of funding for a cash award for information leading to Erik’s recovery to getting Erik’s face on the home page of http://www.rvusa.com/ and blasting over 10,000 E-mails to every RV dealership in the country. Of course you will remember that Erik was kidnapped in a 1979 Jamboree Motor Home. These are really some high class, professional ladies who are putting all their talents and energy into bringing Erik back home. Their dedication and commitment humbles me.
Also I believe we may have broken the ice in Lyon County. Many letters have been received out there asking about Erik and I think those letters have had significant impact. I have received a written report from the lead investigator in Lyon County that suggests that much more is now being done to find Erik. We received one report that Erik may have at one time been in Mexico and possibly may still be in Mexico. Lyon County made arrangements to send investigators into Mexico to follow up on those reports. Also we are distributing posters in Mexico. That same lead investigator has also indicated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now officially involved with the case. The FBI will be assisting in interviewing persons who may know something of Erik’s condition and whereabouts.
As we have had many people pick up the cause for Erik and run with it, have you heard back from anyone we asked readers to write to, such as the Lyon County District Attorney and any media outlets?
As I indicated before I have received a report from the lead investigator in Lyon County. Brad Dennis of Klass Kids got us a spot on the Nancy Grace show but a high profile murder case bumped us. Nevertheless I believe we will still see Erik’s pictures on the Nancy Grace show shortly.
Why hasn't the Amber Alert been sounded?
An Amber Alert should have been sounded immediately and the folks at Klass Kids as well as many others agree with me on this point. Had an Amber Alert been sounded immediately in the Western States Erik would have recovered within days and would have never been placed in harms way.
But there is a dirty little secret about parent abductions. Law Enforcement hates these kinds of cases and will avoid taking them. They are expensive and labor intensive with regard to investigation. Although there is a law on the books requiring Law enforcement to take any missing persons report there are many ways law enforcement can avoid taking these cases and avoid competent investigation.
My Note: Federal law states that when requested, a missing person’s report must be taken on persons through the age of 20. Sadly, beyond that they can and do refuse in some jurisdictions.
I live in Washoe County and Erik’s mother abandoned her home in Lyon County when she kidnapped Erik. I immediately filed a missing persons report in Washoe County but when I attempted to file a missing child report in Lyon County I was given the form, but ejected from the Sheriff’s office and the door locked behind me. The Sheriff was so hostile I feared arrest if I filed the report. In fact a report was never filed in Lyon County and instead a report I had filed with the Reno Police Department had to be transferred out to Lyon County. That delayed the process nearly two weeks. The abductors already had a two-week head start because a Lyon County Sheriff had scared the hell out of me.
I immediately sent letters to both District Attorneys in Washoe County and Lyon County begging them to resolve the jurisdiction issues and get an arrest warrant out on the abductors “before the trail went cold”.
Lyon County finally issued a felony kidnapping warrant 8 weeks after the abduction. But first I had to get court orders from the family court in Washoe County. To its credit the Washoe family Court acted quickly and I was aided by the solid backing of the Washoe County Department of Child Protective Services who backed up my drug and alcohol abuse allegations.
But Amber Alerts are not normally issued 8 weeks after a kidnapping. In my opinion Lyon County had no interest in hearing about the dangers to my son immediately after the kidnapping and at a time when a meaningful amber alert could have been sounded. They have never interviewed me about the mother’s mental problems, violence or chemical abuse so how could they issue amber alert? They knew from the Washoe County missing person report that Karen had been arrested six times for violent behavior and that her boyfriend was abusing my son at the time of the kidnapping. Nevertheless they chose to take the view that this was a harmless family abduction and it did not qualify for an amber alert. I do not believe they ever considered amber alert for Erik.
(Please see http://www.truckingboards.com/trucking/upload/showthread.php?t=9135
if you do not yet understand the ramifications to the child in cases of parental abduction.)
When six weeks after the kidnapping a Washoe County Judge issued a custody order saying Erik was at risk for “immediate harm” Lyon County Law Enforcement ignored that as well.
If anybody doubts the true intention of Lyon County law enforcement regarding this case they should examine the written statements of the Sheriff regarding an Amber Alert for Erik. The Sheriff wrote that amber alerts are not issued for parent abductions period.
I have filed protest letters with both the Lyon County Sheriff and the Governors Commission on Amber Alerts saying this interpretation runs contrary to the written guidelines published by that Commission. The Governor’s Commission has not yet issued a statement but they are evaluating my complaint and I believe they will render an objective decision. I have confidence in the professionalism of the Governor’s Commission.
Has this push made you feel hopeful for Erik?
I get phone calls and letters from people every day urging me to “hang in there and fight a good fight”. It really helps. I do not believe that there is anybody out there that is not going to come down on the side of a beautiful little boy once they understand the true facts of this case. Public opinion will get Erik a competent investigation and possibly an amber alert even after six months time.
And I also believe that the folks out in Lyon County are beginning to see the light as well. I would like nothing better than to have Erik in my lap and issue profuse apologies to all the good folks out there in Yerington, Nevada.
When you get him back, and the initial reunion has happened and any needed healing, what do you think the two of you will do together? Does it hurt too much to think about the passage of time and your knowledge of Karen's behaviors?
The day before Erik was kidnapped at the end of April we had bought a little tent and some fishing poles. We set up the tent on top of the bed in my apartment and we were planning fishing and camping trips for the summer. Well the summer is gone and we never had those magic times together. But there will be other summers and when I get Erik back Erik and I are going to do some serious fishing together!
Erik and I had a great relationship and when together we talked continuously. I loved explaining life and the world to Erik and he loved listening and asking questions. Simple activities were often the most interesting for Erik. Once we came upon a bed of newly bloomed poppies in the park. Erik loved the poppies and asked me a hundred questions about them. I tried to answer all his questions in a way to reinforce our love of the earth and of nature. I always tried to explain life to Erik in terms of love, beauty and goodness. We were with the poppies for nearly four hours. It was one of many magical times I enjoyed with my beautiful son.
Now I fear for my son’s life. But I also fear he will lose his sprit, his curiosity and his innocence. I don’t want to lose the little boy who was so enthralled with the beauty of simple poppies.
What do you think the most effective things are at this point that the general public can do to help?
The pen is powerful. Letters have already made a significant difference in this case. For every person who writes a letter there may be a thousand people who may think the same, but who may not write that letter. People holding public positions understand this. A letter is powerful and is unlikely to be ignored.
We have already had some success with our letters and I think we should continue our efforts. Now that our concerns are before the Governor’s Commission on amber alerts I am going to ask the public to start writing the Governor to express their concerns about my son’s safety.
I believe that Nevada’s Governor Guinn is a wise man, a child advocate and a man very concerned about Nevada’s missing children. I believe he will respond positively to letters sent to him regarding bringing Erik back home to Nevada.
A sample letter from a reader:
Dear Governor Guinn,
I am sending this message out of pure concern for the safety for this little boy & the heartache of his Father. I am sure you are doing the best you possibly can to help fin this mans son, but I am having a very hard time understanding any possible reason that an Amber alert can not be placed for this innocent young boy that has already been through more trauma in life than any child should have. We spend millions on senseless things in this world, life is the most important. Amber alert has been proven to save lives. So again I ask....what good reason could possibly stop your State from not having this amber alert? I beg of you Sir, please help this family.
Yours very truly,
Mrs. XXXXXXXXX, IL
For information on how to write to the Governor, please see Erik’s website. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. http://www.bringerikhome.com/
Do you think about what will happen if it is too late for Erik in terms of your life in the aftermath of this atrocity?
I cannot think about it being too late for Erik. I just recently finished reading no less than three books about the Elisabeth Smart case in Utah. Elisabeth’s father, Ed Smart, always believed that his daughter was still alive and refused to let the public forget about her. Elizabeth came home. Ed Smart is my hero. We presently have no clear idea of where Erik is or his present circumstances. But we are not going to give up and we are not going to forget about him. We are going to find Erik.
There is really nothing I can add to this. Please help. Thank you.