After they landed in Houston, Dave, my brother; Anne, the mother of the missing boy; and Tim, her lawyer; rented a car and drove to the address where they hoped to find her child.
They discovered the bad news when they arrived — the address was an apartment complex, 150 apartments all with the same address except for the apartment number. The bill collector who had inadvertently given Anne her ex-husband’s address hadn’t mentioned an apartment number.
They retreated to a McDonald’s across the street from the complex, got coffee and breakfast, and discussed Plan B.
Tim had brought a pair of coveralls, a hard hat and a work belt with him and he planned to wander about the complex, disguised as a repair man, looking for Anne’s ex and the child he had stolen.
Just before 7 a.m. the three of them drove back across the street to the apartment complex — and caught a break.
“I couldn’t tell whether it was a shout or a scream,” Dave told me, “but Anne said, ‘There he is!’”
Tim and Dave both turned, looked out the back window of their rented car, and saw Anne’s husband, Bob, drive by. Her four-year-old son, Britt, was standing in the right front passenger seat.
They lost sight of Bob’s car but having driven around the apartment complex earlier that morning they knew where he had to exit. They drove there and waited for him.
When Anne saw Bob’s car coming she ducked. But Anne noticed that Bob had made Britt sit down instead of letting him keep standing in the front seat, and commented on it. At least he had that much sense.
They planned to follow Bob to the day care center and, when he left, take the boy and fly back to Charlotte.
They followed Bob, sometimes at high speed, weaving in and out of traffic, trying not to lose sight. Thirty minutes later Anne’s husband pulled into the parking lot of the insurance company where he worked, got out, locked the door, and walked away.
The boy was nowhere to be seen.