Brother Dave; Anne, the mother of the missing child; and Tim, her lawyer, returned to the apartment complex where her ex lived. He must have left their four-year-old boy at a day care center there. But where? There were 150 apartments in the complex.
On the way, Tim came up with another plan. He and Anne would pretend to be a married couple looking for an apartment — a married couple with a young child.
They walked into the Manager’s Office and Tim said, “My wife and I are moving to Houston in a couple of weeks and we are looking for an apartment.”
He also said they had a four-year-old and they needed day care.
The manager said they had some apartments available and he said, “My sister-in-law keeps children in her apartment and she just took on a new youngster about that age five or six weeks ago.”
They had to restrain themselves to keep from running back to the car. They got in, closed the doors, and Tim gave Dave the apartment number.
When the lawyer knocked on the door of the apartment someone opened it, not a suspecting crack, but all the way, inviting. He stepped through the door, touched the woman on the elbow, and invited her to sit down.
“My name is Tim and this is Anne. Anne has come to take her child with her. Please sit of the sofa.”
Anne quickly crossed the room, scooped Britt from the floor and turned to leave. The boy, terrified, began kicking and screaming. Anne’s lawyer had told her that she was the only one who could legally take her son out of the apartment. She was determined to do that — and she did.
Dave headed for the airport, but the boy was a problem. Anne’s ex had poisoned him against his mother and his screams were unnerving.
How could they turn in their rental car and get to his plane, a screaming child in tow, without attracting a lot of unwanted attention — and questions?
Anne had 30 minutes to win over her son. And she did, with soothing words and familiar toys she had been smart enough to bring with her.
By the time they got to Hobby, Britt was excited about taking an airplane ride and eagerly climbed into the back seat with his mother.
The three of them were anxious to get into the air as fast as possible, to get away from Houston with the boy.
Dave was working on his check list with the engines running, almost ready to taxi to the assigned runway when a car with a blue light appeared on the tarmac, headed toward his twin-engine plane.
The blue light was blinking.