I had just moved to Omaha when I heard a news story about a paperboy in Kansas City who had gone missing. This was years before the internet or even John Walsh. My son was about the same age as the boy and I identified with his poor mother. I thought of her often, wondering how she was getting through each day. Did she still set a place for him at the table? Was she out looking for him or unable to even get out of bed? And how would I react if my son was gone? She had to be living in limbo. There were interviews with her for weeks. Each time she'd end up pleading for her son to be returned. Her pain broke my heart
A year or so went by, updates were on the news marking special days--especially the boy's birthday. Then one night, on a late night show I saw the mother and
she said her son was alive-- she'd seen him. Why then wasn't he home? The woman said it was too dangerous.
Fast forward to milk carton faces, posters in grocery stores, internet searches and America's Most Wanted. It all seemed so overwhelming, so many children snatched away from their homes and out of their parent's lives. But then
Elizabeth Smart came home and Shawn Hornbeck was found safe in an apartment in St. Louis. And I thought about that paperboy in Kansas City.
It's many years later, now, and it's all come together in BEATING THE BUSHES, but from the points of views of the fathers not the mothers.