According to Kim

Archive for December 29th, 2007

Keeping focus on missing youth

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Web site, book designed to sustain interest in Jaliek Rainwalker search
Former caregivers of missing 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker are working hard to keep the youth’s name in the headlines as the two-month anniversary of his disappearance approaches.Elaine Person, a former foster parent who lives in Altamont, announced Friday that a Jan. 1 news conference will be held at the Washington Square Deli in Greenwich. There, a new Web site, http://www.findjaliek.org, will be unveiled, along with new information about rewards and events geared toward sustaining support for a search.

Also, a book about Rainwalker is in the works, Person said. It will be called “An Inconvenient Child” and include anecdotes about Rainwalker from people who have cared for him over the years. Two authors, Alex S. DeFazio and Stephen Gnojewski, write it.

“We will do whatever it takes to find Jaliek Rainwalker, shed a positive light on foster care and adoption, and petition for needed resources for adoptive families,” said Person, in a written statement from the new Find Jaliek Task Force.

The group includes Person and her husband, Tom, who provided foster care to Rainwalker when he was younger and respite care more recently. Other members include two other foster families and Rainwalker’s maternal grandparents, Barbara Reeley and Dennis Smith of Poestenkill.

Absent from the group are Rainwalker’s adoptive parents, Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald. Kerr was the last person to see Rainwalker and police have questioned him extensively. He said that Reeley, the Persons, and other former caregivers to Rainwalker have slandered him, insinuating he had something to do with Rainwalker’s disappearance, which he has denied. Police have not named him a suspect.

Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell has said he’s found Kerr’s behavior strange. He said he believes that Kerr hasn’t been the constant presence around the police station he might have expected and that he has refused to complete a polygraph test.

Kerr said he’s been cooperative and police have questioned him and searched his homes and cars, as well as banking and telephone records.

Rainwalker disappeared the night of Nov. 1 after he and Kerr spent the night alone at Kerr’s father’s house in Greenwich. The next morning, Kerr produced a note in Rainwalker’s handwriting that said he was sorry for being a bother to his family and that suggested he had run away.

Rainwalker had emotional problems and Kerr and McDonald were trying to legally undo their adoption of him at the time of his disappearance, Kerr acknowledged.

Kerr is convinced Rainwalker is living with an African-American family in Troy or Albany, because Rainwalker, who had one African-American parent, had always been fascinated with black culture. Police said there is no evidence Rainwalker ran away, and that it’s unlikely a family would conceal a youth who has been the subject of a highly publicized search.

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=650992

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Written by Kim

December 29, 2007 at 3:01 pm