Jaliek Rainwalker – A Little Boy Vanished
Posted by KindraLore on November 13, 2007
Update 12/28/07 12:24PM
It’s been awhile since I have updated the blog entry on Jaliek. “Light the night with Jaliek” went off without a hitch, despite the fact that Stephen Kerr was seen around town taking down posters for the event. What a strange duck he is. If he is not guilty of anything, he certainly knows the steps to making himself look so.
Meanwhile, Elaine Person announced that she will be taking a leave of absence from her job as executive director for a small non-profit agency to create and head a task force for Jaliek. Some of the task forces main directives include fundraisers, a toll-free hotline and a web site that will be at the url location http://www.findjaliek.org (currently not up and running). Jaliek’s grandmother, also Jocelyn McDonald’s mother will also take part in the taskforce.
Elaine Person is also questioning why Kerr and McDonald are still receiving the $1,500 monthly payment from Albany County for Jaliek’s care, even though the boy has disappeared.
According to the latest article, the couple’s other children are no longer in the care of Kerr and McDonald, in part because the East Greenwich home that had no running water and limited electricity did not have a certificate of occupancy. The couple have instead been staying at the Hill Street home in Greewich, owned by Kerr’s father, in which Jaliek disappeared from.
Update 12/17/07 7:57PM
As Barbara Reeley, Jaliek’s paternal grandmother stated here on the comment section, “Light the night for Jaliek” will be held this Sunday, December 23rd at the VFW post on Abeel Evenue in Greenwich, beginning at 6:30PM.
Supporters and loved ones will sign a Christmas card for Jaliek and Christmas ornaments with pictures of Jaliek will also be given to those that attend.
“We just want to keep him alive in everybody’s memory so this doesn’t fade into a cold case,” Elaine Person said.
Update 12/14/07 10:22AM
A fellow blogger directed me to a blog this morning in which radio personality Scott Allen Miller talks about the Jaliek Rainwalker case. Scotto as he’s called had Elaine and Tom Person on his morning show on December 11th.
He states that the Persons said that Stephen Kerr made Jaliek write letters to all of those he had previously “harmed” and they believe one of these letters is the letter that Kerr gave to the police, maintaining that it was a runaway letter.
Update 12/13/07 10:41PM
Thanks to Brian for giving me the heads up on this. Barbara Reeley, Jaliek Rainwalker’s grandmother and Jocelyn McDonald’s mother sat down with Channel 9 for an interview.
“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 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 goes on to say that Stephen Kerr has anger issues and has even taken anger management classes. She describes one incident in which Stephen became angry with Jaliek and grabbed him by the neck and dragged him out the door and dunked Jaliek in the creek.
She also recalls that Jocelyn McDonald made Stephen leave in May because of Kerr’s anger towards the kids.
I think its safe to say we are getting a much bigger and complete picture of Stephen Kerr now.
Update 12/10/07 9:35PM
Elaine Person and Tom Person, Jaliek’s respite family speak out
“I believe that Stephen knows where Jaliek is. I believe he harmed Jaliek. I don’t think he meant to. I don’t think he planned to. I think he got very angry,” said Elaine Person.
Jaliek had been staying with the Persons for about a week before Stephen Kerr picked him up on November 1st, the night Jaliek went missing.
Elaine also stated that Jaliek told her that when Stephen got mad, he didn’t know what he was doing.
You can view the complete article here, as well as the video.
Update 12/9/07 9:00PM
I dont have much time right now to comment much on the latest, but here is an interview with Jodi and Larry Schoen, Jaliek’s former foster parents.
Note: This article was taken off the News 10 site for some reason. Below is the article as it was:
“On Wednesday, NEWS10 sat down with missing 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker’s adoptive parents and received their account of what happened the night the boy disappeared. Three days later, The News Statopm heard from former foster parents of Jaliek, who say that first interview has led them to believe the boy was met with foul play.
“He was as bright as could be. As soon as he could read, he read a book a day. I mean, he was amazing,” says Jodi Schoen, Jaliek’s former foster parent.
However, they say this amazing boy had a dark side.
Jodi and Larry Schoen were the foster parents of Jaliek from the time he was three until he was seven. The pictures they still treasure show a happy boy, but one thing they do not reveal, how the child – born addicted to crack and who lived in five homes before theirs – would fly into violent, hour-long rages.
“He said I hate you,” Jodi Schoen said of the rages, “And the look and the feel was if he was older he could have killed me,”
It was after they say Jaliek attacked their youngest daughter that the Schoens, who had promised to adopt him, decided he had to leave.
Jodi Schoen said, “This man sitting next to me (Larry Schoen) would never hurt a fly and he knew that when Jaliek was seven he knew he had to go or he could end up in jail,”
That is when Jaliek was sent to live with Stephen Kerr and his wife Jocelyn McDonald, and their four other children in Greenwich. Almost immediately though, the Schoens say they felt it may have been a bad placement.
Seeing NEWS10’s exclusive interview with Kerr and McDonald has made them very upset, especially because a few outbursts Kerr had made during it. They also say they have found inconsistencies with what they saw on an early visit to their home – they say Jaliek was locked in his room; Jocelyn McDonald said Social Services investigated the claims and found no locks on their bedroom doors.
In all, the Schoens say they do not regret sending Jaliek back to the state, but feel he did not run away as Kerr and McDonald believe.
“In your heart and your gut, what do you think has happened?” Jodi Schoen asks, “I don’t believe that he is on this earth anymore and I pray that we can find his body; because he came in this world in such a terrible way, and he went out in a terrible way.”
Update 12/9/07 4:50PM
Transcript of the interview with Jocelyn McDonald and Stephen Kerr:
As a side note regarding the transcripts – The actual url to this was linked to a thread on the Court TV boards and I believe WordPress must have a limit on bandwidth because I am finding that sometimes the link will not work.
If you cannot view the transcript by clicking the link, you can click here and view it. Unfortunately, it will make you download it to your computer first (you must click save and remember where you saved it) as the site only supports downloads and not hosted viewing.
Update 12/7/07 6:44PM
Here is the latest video news report. You will need Windows Media to view it. Stephen Kerr was once again interviewed and seems to be making himself much more accessible to the media than previously. He does once again talk about Jaliek being a throw away child that the State of New York did not want, and instead he and his wife took on the responsibility for. He maintains that Jaliek ran away with a street gang. I personally feel that if this were the case a) he would have been spotted by someone and b) with a reward of $25,000, one of those “gang members” would be singing like a bird.
In the previous update I provided a link with a quite long and strange interview with Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald. In that interview both seemed to down play the rumors of the un adoption of Jaliek, stating that they were looking into many other options such as boarding schools and staying with other family members for extended periods of time. However, in this latest article, it states that McDonald’s mother, Barbara Reeley has said the couple were trying to undo Rainwalker’s adoption.
In addition, 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.
Meanwhile, police continue to search a dam on the Battenkill River and state search dogs are still showing an interest in an area near the dam.
Click this link if the link for the video does not work and then click on watch video.
Update 12/07/07 12:46Am
For anyone following this case, a bizarre must see interview with Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald.
Go here and its titled “Exclusive: One-on-One with Jaliek Rainwalker’s Adoptive Parents.”
Update 12/4/07 10:53
I apologize that I have not updated the blog in awhile. I have had so much going on.
In the latest news about the disappearance of Jaleik Rainwalker, Stephen Kerr, Jaliek’s adoptive father and the last one to see Jaliek alive, handed out flyers, as well as spoke to the media this past weekend.
“My son ran away and we’re offering a 25,000 dollar reward for anything you see about him,” Kerr said to citizens as he handed out the flyers.
“I’m pretty certain he’s around here. He was hanging out with four teens – excuse me – three teens from the Albany area prior to running away,” Kerr claims, “He was hanging out with them for four or five days and then he ran away,”
Kerr does not think that is just a coincidence. However, some people who NEWS10’s Tracy Egan encountered expressed doubt that a 12-year-old would’ve been taken in by a gang in Albany.
“It’s highly unlikely and I believe he should go ahead and cooperate with the authorities,” one individual on the street said.
While he has been pushed to take a polygraph examination, Kerr told Tracy Egan that he does not trust lie-detector tests, but does not blame police for being suspicious.
“That’s their job,” he says, “Their job is to leave no stone unturned,”
Kerr said if anyone does find Jaliek, they should know he is a mentally-ill child that can sometimes behave “like a four-year-old”, and other times show the maturity of a “40 year old”.
Despite that, he says the child is loved.
Update 11/26/07 7:00PM
The search for Jaliek Rainwalker now enters its forth week. According to reports, for the first time since November 1st Jaliek’s parents Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald met with forest rangers to discuss places that Jaliek might go.
Authorities are considering bringing in a Nationally renowned search dog to aid in the search.
Meantime, State forest rangers used an air boat to search the Hudson River today. Rangers also searched new areas around McDougall Lake and Carter Pond in Greenwich, areas frequented by Jaliek and his family but found no sign of the missing boy.
Deer hunting brought in a tip of remains in the woods of Easton but were later confirmed to be the remains of a deer.
Update 11/20/07 8:54PM
Police today stated they are expanding the search for Jaliek Rainwalker to an area in Vermont where the family frequented for camping excursions. They maintain that this latest search effort is not based on any tips other than the fact the family frequented the area.
You can also see my blog Jaliek Rainwalker – State Police to Subpoena T.V. Interviews of Jaliek’s Parents.
UPDATE 11/17/07 4:47PM
Family of Jaliek Rainwalker Holds Vigil
Jaliek’s adoptive father Stephen Kerr repeatedly told those gathered he knew Jaliek was alive giving explanations that the 12 year old was born to a cocaine addicted mother and had been bounced around to more than half a dozen foster homes by the time he was seven.Kerr then spoke of Martin Luther king and what king had told African Americans in the 1960’s.
“That the African Americans at that time had been given a bad check. Had been given a check that said insufficient funds and when Jaliek Rainwalker was born he was given that same check.” says Stephen Kerr.
When news channel 13 reporter John Allen asked Stephen Kerr if there is any reason that you think that a 12 year old could possibly survive for 2 weeks outside like this without someone spotting him?” Kerr had no answer.
Graham Kerr, Jaliek’s paternal adoptive grandfather says Jaliek is a survivor; He always will be.
Jaliek’s maternal adoptive grandparents are taking a far different view. They say they know that Jaliek’s adoptive parents had plans to try to find a new home for him and they question whether their son-in law has been totally upfront with police.
Barbara Reeley, Jaliek’s adoptive grandmother says she loved Stephen for 14 years and they have doubts that Jaliek would just pick up and run away without a trace.
UPDATE 11/16/07 7:6PM
Searchers spanned out today around the area of the Greenwich home of Jaliek’s paternal grandparents in which Jaliek was last reportedly seen by his adoptive father Stephen Kerr. The ground search that consisted of about 100 people from the New York State Police, New York State Forest Rangers, police academy recruits and consultants from Team Adam searched within a half mile radius, yet turned up no new clues.
The last place anyone other than Kerr reported seeing Jaliek is Latham restaurant where he and Kerr ate on November 1st.
Police showed FOX23 News a copy of the note Jaliek reportedly left which reads: “Dear Everybody, I am sorry for everything. I won’t be a bother anymore. Goodbye, Jaliek.
Jaliek also reportedly left a sheet of paper with the word “ALBANY” scrawled in big letters.
Chief Bell says investigators have followed up on more than 200 leads. He told FOX 23 News that there’s no clear evidence that Jaliek simply ran away.
“By now, in this time frame, he should have reached out to somebody either in his immediate family or extended family,” Bell says.
Friends and family held a vigil for Jaliek on Friday morning at the Vermont school that his oldest brother attends. Another vigil was scheduled for tonight at Greenwich’s Mowry Park Gazebo.
UPDATE 11/16/07 9:28AM
Reports are coming out today that Stephen Kerr and his wife, Jocelyn McDonald had already decided to “undo” their adoption of little Jaliek Rainwalker. Jaliek had been in and out of foster care (a total of 7 times) before coming to reside with Stephen and Jocelyn when he was five years old.
The family lived an unconventional lifestyle of their choosing, with no running water, outhouses and only limited electricity.
If Jaliek had known that he was about to go to yet another family, I cannot imagine how alone and unwanted this little boy felt. Not one person in the world to lean on and depend on. Once again the feeling of abandonment.
Did little Jaliek really run away, knowing he was being given up once again? Was he abducted, or did he meet with foul play? Where is Jaliek?
It seems as though Stephen Kerr (pictured) has now lawyered up and on advice of his attorney Terry Kindlon, Mr. Kerr will not be taking a polygraph test. Sorry folks but I saw this one coming. This case starts to seem more and more like Colton’s with each passing day.[Article]
Police began searching a new area Wednesday for clues in the disappearance of 12-year-old Greenwich boy Jaliek Rainwalker.
Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell said search dogs from the State Police will help comb over an area of Salem near Rexleigh Road today. He said Jaliek’s family formerly lived on Cleveland Road, near Rexleigh Road, and they swam in the Batten Kill near the Rexleigh Covered Bridge.”There’s an area there around an old mill that we want to check,” the chief said.
Bell said they will also go over an undeveloped stretch of land near Battenkill Country Club that has been searched by forest rangers and volunteers in recent days.[Article]
A golf course pond was drained today in search of little Jaliek Rainwalker. Cadaver dogs were hitting all around the pond but they have still found no sign of Jaliek.
Dredging a small pond on the golf course of the Battenkill Country Club Monday is just one of what Police Chief George Bell says are nearly 200 leads given to police in the case.
According to the police chief, cadaver dogs were very interested in the pond. But even after it was drained no body was found.
“That scent could be laying in that water and that swampy area and could be coming from 500 feet away from the pond, 200 feet away from the pond, we’re not sure,” Bell said.
The chief says the dogs will be out again Tuesday and searchers will conduct a shoulder to shoulder grid search throughout the swamp area adjacent to the pond.
Police are also wondering why Steve Kerr will not take a lie detector test.
Jaliek Rainwalker was last seen by his adopted father, Steve Kerr, after having picked him up at a respite home in Altamont Nov. 1 and brought him to a home owned by Kerr’s father on Hill Street in Greenwich.
According to reports, during the night Jaliek placed pillows under his blankets and left a goodbye note, and has not been seen since. The note could be construed as a runaway or suicide note, Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George 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 Stephen 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.
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.
McDonald said the family is hopeful Rainwalker hitched a ride somewhere, perhaps to New York City, which he always wanted to visit, or to Vermont or the Albany area, where he had ties. She asked that residents post pictures of him, or copies of the “missing” fliers, on their vehicles so more people will see his photo.
“He had reasons to go many, many places,” she said. “He may have gone just about anywhere.”
But she also said he was “troubled and hurting” at the time he left
“I’m very, very afraid as time goes on,” she said. “We need to let everybody know this is a little boy who may be afraid or embarrassed to come home because of all of the media attention. I love him so much; I just want him to be safe — to know where he is and that he’s safe.”
Though Rainwalker is only 12, he looks much older, as if he were 15 or 16, she said.
Bell said police fear that Rainwalker is dead in light of the fact there has been no sign of him in more than a week. He was not believed to have had any money and wore only a light, yellow fleece pullover, jeans and sneakers when he was last seen.
“It’s too long for there not to have been any confirmed sightings,” he said. “It’s cold. It was in the low 20s here this morning, so there’s no way he could have survived outside or without someone providing him food, heat and shelter.”
Bell said Rainwalker, who has lived in Greenwich for the past eight years, is a troubled child with an array of mental disorders, and is considered to be homicidal and suicidal. He is not currently on medication, according to Bell.
“We know that there’s some serious psychological problems. He has some suicidal and homicidal tendencies, but I don’t know if a 12-year-old can have a strong enough will to do that,” Bell said.
Any person with information regarding Rainwalker is asked to contact Cambridge/Greenwich Police Department at (518) 692-9332.
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