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CASE FILES


The Kidnapped Grandchildren (continued)

by Jake Ross

     Once there I settled down for the night in a very reasonable motel off the interstate.  Early the next morning I proceeded to Mr. Lane's employer and made contact with the personnel department.  Mr. Lane was out in the city working, so I was told.  However, the personnel department provided me with his home address.  The kind or work he did didn't necessarily call for eight hours, he could go home whenever he finished his assignments.  Someday he would only work three to five hours.  I went to the residential address hoping to find the mother and kids there.  No one was home.  I inquired around the neighborhood trying to find out if anyone knew them.  This was a small residential neighborhood and everybody spoke to you.  When they saw you for the first tie they still pretended to know you.  They were polite and very jubilant when speaking. 
     An old man was sitting in his back yard diagonally across from the house I was concerned with.  He looked to be about 90 years old. He was shelling pecans.  He told me everything I needed to know about the people across the street.
     "They moved into the house a few days ago, and they have two little beautiful kids, and they seem like nice people."  He also told me that the kids were over talking with him yesterday.  He said the husband works and gets home every day between four and five in the afternoon. "The young lady usually hangs around about this time every day, because she doesn't work."
     I thanked the old man and left. He never knew that I was  a private investigator, and he never knew my purpose for being there talking with him. I told him that I would be back.  I went to the Savannah Police Department and informed them of my visit.  They were very cooperative and willing to back me in the event I needed assistance.  When I returned to my surveillance location an officer even drove by to make sure that I was okay.  This made me feel welcome and happy.  I felt as though I was back in Florida among my fellow law enforcement friends of mine.  I received full  cooperation from everybody.  If people in the whole state of Georgia are that warm and kindhearted, well, that's where I need to live. 
     I watched the house while talking 
     
     
with the old man shelling pecans. His yard was covered with pecan trees so I'm sure he didn't miss the ones I ate.  About 4:50 p.m. a car pulled up in the yard. A man got out and went into the house, using his keys to open the front door.  It was Mr. Lane, and he was alone. I approached him in a very quick and authoritative manner, After gong through my identification process, I inquired about his girlfriend Delois, and the children.  He said," I thought they were home, because they're usually home by now." I explained to Mr. Land the consequences he would have to pay for kidnapping. He became very despondent, but was willing to cooperate with me completely.  He began to tell me that he didn't have anything to do with it.  He said he told Delois not to bother with those kids. "Now she's in trouble and got me into trouble too."
     I made him believe that he was in plenty of trouble.  This was my way of bluffing him, or maybe you'd call it using a little psychology. I had to use this  method to get him on my side to make things easier.  I knew he didn't have to cooperate with me fully, but he didn't know. However, I did have a court order from the judge. I told Mr. Lane that I was too close to having those kids and I was not leaving until I found them. He stated that he believed Delois and the kids were downtown because she mentioned doing some shopping.  We traveled in my car to the downtown area.  Once we arrived in the heart of downtown Savannah, I saw a lady with two children standing on the curb waiting for the traffic light to change so they could cross the street. I could see the lady's right
hand going up and down on the little boy's buttocks, but for what reason I don't know. The little boy was crying.
     When we got clear of the downtown traffic, I showed Miss Flanders my private investigator's credentials and told her that I was hired by her mother to find her tow kids and return them to her. She began to cry. She embraced her four-year-old daughter and rocked her while she cried. She told me she wasn't about to give up her kids again.  We talked while I headed toward the interstate. I knew, at the 
high rate of speed I was traveling, that she wouldn't try anything stupid 
because I had Mr. Lane on my side. Mr. Lane was agreeing with the things that I was saying. He was still shook-up because he thought he might be going to jail if he returned with me to Florida. He was scared and talking almost as fast as my car was traveling. He was pleading with her to give the kids to me.  I told both of them that I was not leaving without the kids, and if I had to take them back with the kids, then I would.
     Mr. Lane believed everything that I was saying.  Finally, Delois reluctantly released the kids to me.   When I was almost certain that I had Delois' confidence, I pulled over to the next exit and let Mr. Lane and Delois out. They didn't know how they would get back to the city.  They didn't know where they were either. They didn't have any money. I didn't know exactly where I was, however I knew that I was too far from Savannah to turn around and take them back. I gave them a twenty-dollar bill to catch a bus or a ride. I was on the interstate, and once I let them out I was home free. 
     My next stop was the Florida line. I pulled over to the first exit and called my client. I told her that I had somebody who wanted to talk to her. The small boy talked first. The first words that came out of his mouth were, "Grandma, we're coming home."  The little girl talked briefly before giving me the phone. I told my client that we would be home within a few hours. I then gassed up my car and hit the highway again.  We ate snacks on the way back, but nothing seemed to calm the little girl.  She cried and constantly repeated," I want my mama." I finally found a way to calm her down. I turned on the radio and tried to sing songs along with the radio.
     I must have sung about an hour before she laughed and danced herself to sleep.  The boy fell asleep first. When they woke up they were in their grandmother's arms.  We arrived in Daytona Beach shortly after midnight. My client and her two grandchildren were obviously overjoyed. I was tired.
     After hugging and kissing, Margaret Wilson turned to me and said, "Mr. Ross, I don't know how to thank you." I told her, "Seeing you three together is all the thanks that I need."
P.I. Magazine     Spring, 1994 Back one page
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