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Author Topic: Jaliek Rainwalker 12, msg 11/1/07 Cambridge-Greenwich, NY  (Read 103602 times)
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MumInOhio
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« on: November 15, 2007, 09:20:34 AM »

Hope Fades for Boy Missing in Upstate New York
Police Say Adopted Father of Jaliek Rainwalker, 12, Declined Polygraph Exam
Jaliek Rainwalker allegedly left a note before he disappeared 10 days ago saying that he was sorry and that he would no longer be a problem to anyone. (Cambridge-Greenwich Police Department) By DAVID SCHOETZ
Nov. 12, 2007

    The search for apparent runaway Jaliek Rainwalker in upstate New York has produced at least 150 leads, but no missing 12-year-old boy.

Rainwalker was last seen more than a week ago by his adopted father, Stephen Kerr, Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell told ABC News.

Kerr reported the boy missing Nov. 2 after finding him gone from his bed at his adopted grandfather's house. Rainwalker, who suffers from mental illness, had stuffed clothes and pillows under the sheets and left behind a note, Kerr told police.

"He was sorry for all he did and he wouldn't be a problem anymore," Bell said, describing the contents of the note, which appeared to be written in Rainwalker's handwriting. "He said, 'Goodbye.'"

The note could be construed as a runaway or suicide note, Bell said, but more than 10 days after the boy's disappearance, the chief fears that Rainwalker has fallen victim to someone or something.

"In 30 years, a kid of 12 years old, and I don't care what his mindset is, he doesn't fall off the face of the world," Bell said. "We just don't have a runaway kid here."

Rainwalker had been in and out of foster care seven times before he was officially adopted by Kerr and his wife, Jocelyn McDonald, when he was 5. He recently had gotten in trouble for threatening a student and was sent to a respite home in Altamont, N.Y. Witnesses have placed Rainwalker and Kerr at a restaurant the Thursday night before he was reported missing as the two drove back to Greenwich from Altamont.

The search has included dive teams, K-9 units and helicopters. The New York State police, local sheriff's office, forest rangers and search and rescue teams have all assisted the Cambridge-Greenwich police in the effort.

Bell said that both the grandfather's house, as well as the house where Kerr and McDonald live, were searched as potential crime scenes. Police are not calling anyone a suspect in the disappearance, but Bell added that, at this point, "I can't rule anything out."
 
He also said that police offered polygraph tests to both Kerr and McDonald -- an offer that only McDonald accepted. "We've offered to have both parents take the polygraphs and the mother has taken a polygraph," Bell said. "That's where I'll end it." The family, Bell added, conducted its own search for the boy.

A message left by ABC News with a woman who identified herself as Kerr's sister was not returned.
 
The search area is focused on a rugged wilderness area along the banks of the Batten Kill River. Authorities also questioned several religious groups in the area, including the Twelve Tribes in Cambridge, a religious farming community near Rainwalker's home.

Citizens have reported seeing Rainwalker as far away as Saratoga and Albany, N.Y. While each lead takes time to investigate, Bell said they will continue to follow up on what he described as "good intent calls."

Rainwalker is not currently taking any medications, but should not be considered a danger to approach, police said. He is described as a light-skinned black boy, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 105 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. He may be wearing blue jeans and a yellow fleece.





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MumInOhio
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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2007, 09:24:55 AM »

Police Narrow Search for Jaliek Rainwalker
November 12, 2007 - 5:24PM
     Investigators will be back on the golf course at the Battenkill Country Club tomorrow, continuing their search for 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker.

On Monday, rescue crews in Washington County drained a pond on the course after they say three different cadaver dogs showed an interest in that area. We’re told the dogs didn’t find anything tonight, but they’ll search a swampy area around the pond tomorrow.

Rainwalker has been missing since November 1. His family says he likely ran away from home because he was no longer welcome in the small schoolhouse where he and several other students were home-schooled.

Rainwalker's mother, Jocelyn McDonald, told CBS 6 News on Sunday police asked her to take a polygraph test, which she agreed to, but that her husband, Stephen Kerr decided against taking. McDonald says her husband was willing to take the test, but changed his mind because of a question on a form asking whether he was in good physical condition.

 

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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2007, 09:27:45 AM »

Search Continues for Missing Boy
Last Update: 11/14 6:40 pm 

   

for Jaliek Rainwalker, Missing Since Nov. 1st Police in Washington County expanded their search for Jaliek Rainwalker in the area around the Battenkill Country Club in Easton.

They scoured the area yesterday and today that search included property close by the country club.

After receiving a tip earlier this week officials drained a pond on the country club's golf course
but so far haven't found anything.

Rainwalker was last seen November 1st at his grandfather's house in nearby Greenwich.
            -----------------------------------------------------

I don't believe this youngster just ran awy!
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2007, 03:43:42 PM »

Search for missing boy continues for third day
 November 15, 2007
http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100020825&docId=l:701899240&start=26

EASTON - Police and volunteers spent a third day searching near Battenkill Country Club for Jaliek Rainwalker, the 12-year-old who disappeared from his grandparents' Greenwich home on Nov. 1.

Wednesday's search focused on an area immediately to the southwest of the country club's golf course and adjacent woods. Police and volunteers used dogs trained in sniffing out bodies to aid in their search. Last week, dogs showed interest in a pond near the golf course's sixth hole, leading authorities to drain the pond on Monday. No clues were found.

Police will continue combing the same area today.

Meanwhile, a second prayer vigil for Rainwalker's safe return has been planned for 7 p.m. Friday at Mowry Park in Salem.

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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2007, 07:03:10 AM »


Chief of police discusses search for missing boy
Updated: 11/15/2007 10:03 AM
By: Britt Godshalk

   
   
NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. -- As officers continued searching for 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker, the chief of the Cambridge-Greenwich Police Department held firm that no stone would be left unturned, no person overlooked.

"We're looking at anybody and everybody," Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell said.

That includes Jaliek's adoptive parents. Jaliek's mother has agreed to a polygraph test, but the chief would not release why the boy's father hasn't. Police said he did leave a note saying goodbye before he vanished, which could mean he ran away. But the chief believes if that were so, he would have been spotted leaving town. So the investigation is largely centered in the Washington County area.

The chief said a lead, which he would not elaborate on, brought troopers and their search dogs to the woods off Rexleigh Road in the town of Salem, near the area where Jaliek and his family used to live.

"It's was an area where Jaliek used to go swimming at one point, there is a large swimming hole there," Bell explained. "It's just an area we want to thoroughly search and eliminate."

The area of the Battenkill Country Club in Middle Falls continued to confuse officers Wednesday. Dogs picked up a scent - but after days of looking, police reported nothing found.

But there is hope that more eyes and ears in some of the local wooded areas this weekend will help put investigators on the right track.

"Friday the big gaming season opens up in Southern Washington County," Bell said. "We're asking the hunters that have camps on their property, have maybe a favorite deer stand or a favorite piece of woods that they hunt, to get in and look around, if they see anything out of shape there, or something wrong, or somebody may have broken into a camp, we need to know about it."

The smallest detail could lead to answers.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jaliek Rainwalker is asked to call 1-800-FIND-KID or any State Police barracks.


 
   
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2007, 07:22:51 AM »

State Police to subpoena TV Interviews

State police have said that they are going to subpoena all taped interviews with Jaliek Rainwalker’s parents according to reports coming out today. I know many want to believe in these parents, as do I, but common sense tells us that a little boy does not completely disappear off the face of this earth. Someone would have seen little Jaliek walking down the road. In two weeks since he has been missing there have been no sightings people.

Yet Friday in a candlelight vigil, Stephen Kerr, Jaliek’s adoptive father says he still believes Jaliek’s alive. You can see his plea here .

Now that we know Jaliek’s adoptive parents were about to return him to the state, the question lies: did Jaliek run away or did something more sinister happen.

Today Jaliek’s foster parents (who have cared for Jaliek off and on since he was seven when his adoptive parents needed a break) say they want answers. The Persons of Altamont told NEWS10 “I think they thought they could fix this child and there are some things that you can’t fix”. They said that Stephen Kerr told them that a threat made to another child was the last straw.

“In my discussions with Stephen, he said that they were going to disrupt the placement. But he gave me no indication that Jaliek knew that and I don’t think Jaliek knew.

Elaine Person stated that Jaliek was happy when she dropped him off with his father.

According to this article Jaliek threatened the family and once threatened to rape a 4-year old child at the small homeschool he attended. Some family members say Rainwalker was no longer welcome at the school after that last threat and that may have prompted him to run away. Rainwalker’s 14-year-old brother told CBS 6 Jaliek had threatened his family and began to throw tantrums about three months after he was adopted three years ago.


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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 09:36:01 AM »

12-year-old still missing; police to review TV interviews 
 
By BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
Last updated: 4:55 p.m., Monday, November 19, 2007
 
GREENWICH -- Warren County sheriff's divers found no sign today of Jaliek Rainwater, the 12-year-old missing since Oct. 31, during a search of Carter's Pond, located near County Route 49 in Greenwich, said Greenwich Police Chief George Bell.
Also, at least one local television station complied with law enforcement subpoenas asking for television news interviews with Rainwalker's adoptive parents, Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald.

Bell said Capital News 9 has delivered its tapes to the State Police. Officials want to review the tapes, Bell said, to observe "the reactions" of Kerr and McDonald, who recently had decided to undo the five-year-old adoption because of Rainwalker's troubled nature. The boy had been prone to violent outbursts during the five years he lived with them in Cossayuna, Washington County.

Capital News 9 General Manager Al Marlin did not return a call seeking comment.
 
 

All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2007, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.

 
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2007, 08:54:20 PM »

The Times Union (Albany, New York)
 
November 21, 2007 Wednesday
1 EDITION 
 
CAPITAL REGION; Pg. D6 
 
140 words
 
 
No new leads in hunt for missing 12-year-old
 

GREENWICH - Police made no major discoveries Wednesday in their ongoing hunt for missing 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker.

Rainwalker was last seen by his adoptive father on Nov. 1 as the two spent the night at a vacant house owned by a relative.

Police have grown increasingly frustrated by the behavior of Rainwalker's adoptive parents, Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald. Chief George Bell said he has not heard from either of them for two weeks, but he has been in touch with two of Rainwalker's adoptive grandparents.

The search remains focused on wooded areas and ponds around the Battenkill Country Club in Greenwich. Rainwalker lived in Cossayuna, Washington County, for five years. Because of his frequent violent outbursts, Kerr and McDonald were attempting to undo their adoption of Rainwalker at the time of his disappearance.

- Dan Higgins 
 
November 21, 2007
http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100020825&docId=l:704872899&start=1
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2007, 07:02:55 PM »

Reported by: Walt McClure
Email: waltmcclure@fox23news.com
http://www.fox23news.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=4af8f7fc-0b57-4be9-8be6-a212c80ecf29

Last Update: 11/24 9:35 pm
Search crews were back out along the Battenkill River in Washington County Saturday looking for 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker.


The search via airboat covered about a 5 mile area from where the Battenkill enters the Hudson River to Greenwich.





Rainwalker has not been seen since November 1, and his foster father, who may have been the last to actually see him, has come under fire for not submitting to a polygraph test.





Crews have also looked in areas in Vermont -- and information about the case has appeared on the website of America's Most Wanted.








 
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2007, 10:39:33 PM »

The parents are looking pretty bad right now....
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2007, 08:23:25 AM »

The Times Union (Albany, New York)
 
November 28, 2007 Wednesday
2 EDITION 


Family outing sites key to search;
Police say interview with parents of missing boy focused on finding possible destinations
 
By DAN HIGGINS Staff Writer
 

GREENWICH - A day after they interviewed the parents of missing 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker, police said they are still looking for clues that might point to his whereabouts.

On Tuesday, Greenwich-Cambridge Police Chief George Bell said his most recent conversation with the parents centered on brainstorming about areas where the family has camped and hiked, or places Rainwalker could have run to on the day he disappeared.

This week, police divers and forest rangers are searching the Hudson River where it meets the Batten Kill, and in the nearby wooded areas where Washington County meets Saratoga County.

Rainwalker disappeared Nov. 1 after spending the night alone with his father, Stephen Kerr, at a relative's unoccupied house.

Rainwalker was a difficult child prone to emotional and sometimes violent outbursts, family members have said, and Kerr and wife Jocelyn McDonald were in the process of undoing their adoption of him when he disappeared.

The morning Rainwalker was reported missing, Kerr produced a note in the boy's handwriting that said he no longer wanted to be a burden to his family.

When asked if he suspects foul play, Bell said only that the investigation is now focused on finding the child. 
 
November 28, 2007
http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100020825&docId=l:707830100&start=11
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2007, 04:58:27 PM »

Jaliek's family offers reward
Updated: 11/29/2007 7:36 AM
By: Jessica Mokhiber
GREENWICH, N.Y. -- "We just want to know where he is and that he's safe,” said Jocelyen McDonald, Jaliek's Mother.

It's been nearly four weeks since Jaliek Rainwalker was last seen. His adoptive mother hasn't talked much to reporters until she opened up to us.

"Right now I just want to get the word out about the reward going out,” said McDonald.

McDonald cautions that the reward will not go up. It will remain at $25,000 until December 31st. On January 1st, it drops to $20,000. That's why she said she hopes anyone with any information comes forward sooner rather than later.

"I fear that out on the street the longer he's there, he could be the victim of foul play,” said McDonald.

But McDonald said even though police haven't ruled out foul play, she's convinced he simply ran away. No one has been named as a suspect and she does not believe her husband, who has refused to take a take a lie detector test, had anything to do with Jaliek's disappearance.

"Many people have implicated my husband because he was the last person to see my son and the reason that he was the last person to see him was because he was protecting him and his siblings because Jaliek was having a mental break,” said McDonald.

And she said the support from the community is helping her get through these difficult weeks.

"Everybody has really cared strongly about Jaliek. At the heart of it, people just really want to find my son, which is all my goal is too,” said McDonald.

Meanwhile, Greenwich Police Chief George Bell who has been heading up the investigation said the FBI from New York City is in the area doing an aerial search using infrared cameras that can detect heat and human remains.

And while Jaliek's parents are holding out hope, police do not believe they'll find Jaliek alive, and they said they're running out of places to look for him.

http://www.capitalnews9.com/content/your_news/north_country/?ArID=226078&SecID=5
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2007, 08:20:07 PM »

The Times Union (Albany, New York)
 
December 6, 2007 Thursday
Hope remains as search wanes;
Police chief says he has not given up on finding missing 12-year-old 

 
By DAN HIGGINS Staff Writer
 

GREENWICH - Police have scaled back their search for missing 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker. But Greenwich-Cambridge Police Chief George Bell said he has not given up hope of finding him.

"There is still a very active search for Jaliek. We're going to find him," Bell said.

But police believe they have exhausted most of their search options within several miles of Rainwalker's home in Cossayuna, Washington County.

"We've taken that town and turned it upside-down and shaken it, and we haven't found him," Bell said.

Two weeks ago, as many as 100 police, volunteers and forest rangers combed the woods around Cossayuna and nearby Greenwich looking for the youngster, who was last seen by his adoptive father, Stephen Kerr, on Nov. 1. This week, there are about a dozen authorities involved in a daily search.

While authorities and family won't officially give up hope of finding him alive, the search has been run as a recovery operation, only during daylight hours and using dogs trained to sniff out cadavers. "If someone told me they had a good idea of a place where we should look and I felt there was a good possibility, I would put 100 people back to that spot without a doubt," Bell said.

There are six police investigators working on the case. Kerr and his wife, Jocelyn McDonald, were in the process of undoing their adoption of Rainwalker at the time of his disappearance.

The child, they said, was prone to violent outbursts that frightened his parents and four siblings. The night before he disappeared, he stayed alone with his father at an unoccupied home in Greenwich. The next morning, Kerr awoke and produced a note he said Rainwalker wrote explaining that he no longer wanted to be a burden on his family. 
http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100020825&docId=l:712042682&start=3
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2007, 07:04:19 PM »


Search for missing boy takes new tack


Friday, December 7, 2007
National experts and new search dogs will join the hunt for Jaliek Rainwalker, the 12-year-old boy from Washington County who has been missing for more than a month.

Investigators from the local police, the FBI, state troopers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have followed leads throughout the Capital Region but found no sign of Rainwalker.


Speculation surfaced recently that Rainwalker might be in Albany with a gang, a lead police have followed to no avail.

On Thursday, searchers examined the screens inside a drained hydroelectric dam on the Batten Kill River near Middle Grove, downstream from where Rainwalker's adoptive father, Stephen Kerr, last saw him.

Greenwich-Cambridge Police Chief George Bell said they looked at the dam because dogs trained to find dead bodies have repeatedly returned to the area. This weekend, a new set of dogs unfamiliar with the terrain will work the area that drew the attention of the previous dogs.

Bell would not comment on a news report in the Post-Star of Glens Falls newspaper that police are looking at Kerr's cellphone records, calling the issue "sensitive."

The search for Jaliek's body has put police at odds with Kerr and Rainwalker's adoptive mother, Jocelyn McDonald, who have said in published reports they believe the boy is alive.

"I know the parents aren't happy, and I don't want to get into a debate over what police believe vs. what they believe," Bell said.

"There's a $25,000 reward out there and no one has been able to claim it, what does that say in itself? If he's with someone in Albany, so be it I just want to know he's OK. But there's been no leads to indicate that's the case," he said.

Kerr was the last person to see Jaliek on Nov. 1 after he picked him up at a home in Altamont where Rainwalker stayed when McDonald and Kerr needed a break from his emotional problems. McDonald's mother, Barbara Reeley of Wynantskill, has said the couple were trying to undo Rainwalker's adoption.

Elaine Person, Rainwalker's respite care provider in Altamont, questions some of the statements McDonald and Kerr have made to the media. McDonald said she had dinner with Rainwalker on Oct. 27 but Person said that is not the case.

"He was with (my husband and me) Oct. 27. She wasn't speaking to him. She wouldn't let him in her house," Person said.

Person said Rainwalker was happy and well-behaved at her house days before he disappeared.

Elaine and Tom Person are planning a forum in two weeks to update the community on Rainwalker's case. She said she and her husband are haunted by regrets about what they might have done to prevent the boy's disappearance.

"Jaliek was a beautiful, sweet, intelligent, generous and loving child with some behavior problems," Person said.

Rainwalker's photograph is on the online home page for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He is described as biracial, 5-feet-6-inches tall, and 105 pounds. He has green eyes, brown hair and a slight speech impediment. He pronounces "r" as "w."

Anyone with information about Rainwalker or who may have seen him is asked to call 692-9332.

http://tinyurl.com/265nqn

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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2007, 05:12:38 PM »

There's just too much here to me that points to the dad.  Alone with him in an abandoned "cabin" the night he disappeared.  I pray this child is alive somewhere.  I know parts of Northern NY well and in places, especially around the reservations and such,  its very wooded.  I actually know of a trucker who travels that way often and has been watching for the boy as he himself still has lots of family that live in that area.  And yes,  this man too is an American Indian, and he states that many are upset and that his birth mother was a "drinker" and when he was born he was labeled as a FAS baby. 
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2007, 06:49:06 PM »

That poor little boy.
If the police think he's dead....he probably is. It sounds like they know something, but they just need to prove it.
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2007, 07:04:55 PM »

There's just too much here to me that points to the dad.  Alone with him in an abandoned "cabin" the night he disappeared.  I pray this child is alive somewhere.  I know parts of Northern NY well and in places, especially around the reservations and such,  its very wooded.  I actually know of a trucker who travels that way often and has been watching for the boy as he himself still has lots of family that live in that area.  And yes,  this man too is an American Indian, and he states that many are upset and that his birth mother was a "drinker" and when he was born he was labeled as a FAS baby. 


And it is so very cold now  Sad
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« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2007, 02:16:05 PM »

http://www.capitalnews9.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=227198
Jaliek Rainwalker's grandmother speaks out about her missing grandson
Updated: 12/13/2007 8:25 AM
TROY, N.Y. - "I feel like in the future I can mend relationships with my daughter and my grandchildren but I could not live with myself if I did not try and find out the truth about where Jaliek has disappeared to," said Jaliek Rainwalker's maternal grandmother Barbara Reeley.

Reeley hasn't spoken publicly to the media in about a month. She and her daughter Jocelyn McDonald are no longer speaking. The strain of a missing child has torn the family apart.

Reeley said, "I believe that Stephen is the only one who knows what happened to Jaliek on November 1st and I do believe he harmed him."

Barbara is concerned that her son-in-law Stephen Kerr -- Jaliek's father -- had something to do with his disappearance. He has not been named a suspect by police but he was the last person to see Jaliek on the night of November 1st and Barbara says his behavior over the years leads her to believe he is capable of hurting a child.

"Stephen has anger issues. I think it was three years ago, Jaliek was doing some repetitive behavior and Stephen grabbed him by the neck and dragged him out the back door and dunked him in the creek and if my daughter had not been there, I don't know what else he would have done to him."

She also says Stephen had been in anger management classes but that his behavior this past spring was too much for his wife Jocelyn.

"This past May my daughter asked him to leave the house because of his anger towards his children. I'm very concerned about my daughter and my grandchildren."

Barbara also says it bothered her that both Stephen and Jocelyn were not involved in the search effort for Jaliek early on. She also says she knows what she's saying may make her already strained relationship with her daughter even worse, but that right now her top priority is finding Jaliek.




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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2007, 02:19:14 PM »

No New Leads and Winter May Bring Jaliek Search to a Halt

http://www.wten.com/Global/story.asp?s=7470822
It may soon be the end of the road in the major police search for Jaliek Rainwalker.  After more than a month of probing land, water and woods with no results - organized searches are giving way to volunteer groups.  The 12-year-old disappeared November 1st after his adoptive father says the two got into a heated argument, and since that night there has been no trace of the boy.  As NEWS10's Alyssa Van Wie reports, without any new leads, the case might be losing steam.

Search Winds Down

With the arrival of another dog comes another chance to comb the Battenkill Golf Course in Greenwich.

"We brought some new dogs in today just to see what the dogs were interested in; more of a curiosity type thing at this point," Lt. John Solan, a New York State Forest Ranger, says.

The search is also a training exercise for this new dog, whose owners are volunteers.  No matter what the details are, though, it is another set of eyes on an already well-combed area.

"They've never been here before," Solan continues, "They're fresh dogs to this area,"

The "area" that Lt. Solan talks about is one that keeps drawing search crews to it, although no one really seems to be sure why.

"We haven't found anything at all to indicate there's anything here," He says.

Even though the golf course is cold and covered with snow right now, the weather might have extended the search for a little bit longer.  Had the storm come through will all the snow that was expected last week, it might have actually stopped there.

Solan confirms that the incoming winter will halt the search, saying, "Yeah, we're going to be pretty much done with any searching until spring at this point, I would say.  This is probably going to be it."

They went out again Saturday; a few forest rangers and some volunteers.  It is the volunteers who have kept the search going this long without any real leads.  As long as they still want to search, officials may continue to join them.

"There's a lot of unknowns in this case and the more you're out there, the better the chances of finding something are," Solan concludes.


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« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2007, 09:46:27 AM »

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The Times Union (Albany, New York)
 
December 20, 2007 Thursday
 
Adoptive father's actions raise eyebrows;
Police chief says angry residents have reported seeing Stephen Kerr removing posters for Sunday vigil 

 
By DAN HIGGINS Staff Writer
 

GREENWICH - Stephen Kerr, the last person to see Jaliek Rainwalker, his adopted son, before the boy disappeared Nov. 1, has been seen around Greenwich and Cambridge tearing down fliers advertising a vigil for the missing boy.

Greenwich-Cambridge Police Chief George Bell said he receives "several calls a day" from people who are angered and perplexed by Kerr's behavior.

Bell declined to characterize Kerr's actions, adding that police have not asked him to stop.

Meanwhile, a woman who cared for the 12-year-old Rainwalker said that a "goodbye" note Kerr said proves Rainwalker ran away from home was actually a homework assignment from his father.

Bell has not named any suspects in Rainwalker's disappearance, and said the lack of progress in the investigation is frustrating.

"We have not caught one break in this case," he said.

Elaine and Tom Person of Altamont, who provided respite care for Rainwalker, are among the co-organizers of Sunday's vigil at the Greenwich VFW.

Elaine Person said she is troubled by statements Kerr has made publicly about the note - in Rainwalker's handwriting - that Kerr said is proof the boy ran away.

Kerr has said the note read, "Dear everybody, I'm sorry for everything. I won't be a bother anymore. Goodbye, Jaliek."

"That wasn't a goodbye note, that was a homework assignment," Person said. Rainwalker and four other children are home-schooled by Kerr and his wife, Jocelyn McDonald. When Kerr dropped off Rainwalker at Person's home for respite care the week before he disappeared, he told Elaine his son's homework assignments included writing a letter of apology to people he had harmed.

Person said she saw Rainwalker write the note but did not read it, because she felt its contents were private. When she saw Kerr on television talking about the letter as a "goodbye" note several days later, she said she was stunned.

"I was yelling at the TV, `That's not a goodbye note!' "

Kerr and his wife have been invited to Sunday's vigil but have not responded, Person said. Neither Kerr nor McDonald returned phone messages left for them Wednesday.

Rainwalker's life with Kerr and McDonald in Cossayuna was fraught with emotional turmoil.

At the time of his disappearance, Rainwalker had lived with the couple and their children for five years, including three years as their adopted son. But Kerr and McDonald planned to send him back into the foster system, relatives and police said.

Police have spoken to Kerr and McDonald on numerous occasions, looking for clues as to where Rainwalker may be. Police said McDonald has taken a lie-detector test but Kerr has refused.

Police have searched wooded areas and streams and ponds around Greenwich and Cambridge. Family members offered a $25,000 reward for information.

Dan Higgins can be reached at 454-5523, or by e-mail at dhiggins@timesunion.com

VigilWhat: Light the Night for Jaliek Where: Greenwich VFW, Abeel Avenue When: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday Info: 861-6262 
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Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware/Of giving your heart to a dog to tear  -- Rudyard Kipling

One who doesn't trust is never deceived...

'I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind' -Edgar Allen Poe
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