Hide and Seek

Fourteen-year-old Andrew Mosier was abducted last August. It wasn't by aliens.

Just over eight months ago, 14-year-old Andrew Mosier disappeared for the second time.

The first time was in June 2010, when his uncle, in violation of a court order prohibiting contact with the boy, took him to Colorado. Presumably, the uncle, Doug Lazell, wanted Andrew to be near him and the boy's mother, Carol Lazell. Carol had lost Andrew to her ex-husband in January 2010, after a nasty divorce and custody battle. A Colorado court had determined, based in part on Carol Lazell's mental health, that Andrew would be in danger if left in his mother's care.

Three days after Andrew disappeared, his father, Dennis Mosier, received a call from his ex-wife's attorney. Andrew was safe in Colorado. Arrangements were made. Mosier flew to Denver, met his boy at the airport and brought him back to Houston.

Dennis Mosier says his son Andrew was becoming more social when he moved back to Houston.
Courtesy of Dennis Mosier
Dennis Mosier says his son Andrew was becoming more social when he moved back to Houston.
Andrew's mother, Carol Lazell, accused Dennis Mosier of raping and beating Andrew.
Courtesy of Dennis Mosier
Andrew's mother, Carol Lazell, accused Dennis Mosier of raping and beating Andrew.

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Andrew Mosier was kidnapped by family at least once before.


Two months later, Mosier woke up to an empty home. Once again, his boy was gone. A frantic Mosier called the West University Police Department, his ex-wife, his ex-wife's parents — anyone he could think of. He told the cops that Doug Lazell had kidnapped his boy once before. Detective Anthony Armendariz plugged Andrew's information into the National Crime Information Center database.

A day passed. No word from his ex-wife. No call from an attorney saying the boy was fine, come get him. Plus, Doug Lazell could not be located.

Another day passed. Mosier grew even more frantic. He was sure Doug had his son, and almost certain that his ex-wife knew where they were. Why couldn't the police in Colorado track Doug down? Mosier couldn't sleep. Mosier ­believed that Doug was bipolar and rarely took his meds; he was prone to the same paranoia as Carol. Andrew was not safe with either one.

On the third day, Mosier was still an absolute wreck. He had already put a hold on Andrew's passport, so Doug couldn't take him out of the country. He had alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Polly Klaas Foundation and every other missing-children group he could think of. He was going out of his mind.

In those first three days after her boy disappeared, there is no evidence, other than her testimony, that Carol Lazell notified any authorities. She didn't return her ex-husband's frantic calls. She didn't contact any missing-children groups. But here's what she did do: She went to work the day after she was told her boy was missing. And that month, she faxed one of Andrew's doctors in Houston, requesting a copy of his medical records. She followed this up with a letter in February 2011, roughly seven months after her boy disappeared.

As days turned into weeks and then months, Mosier sought help from authorities in Houston and Denver. He believed that, with a solid suspect, this was an open-and-shut case. Instead, he says, he was given unsatisfactory, bureaucratic explanations as to why authorities couldn't push as hard they'd like. He couldn't help but wonder if, because Andrew was presumed to be with family, authorities didn't consider him a priority.

Mosier was learning a frustrating truth: Even though Doug had taken Andrew in the past, even though a felony warrant was issued for his arrest and even though he disappeared the same week as Andrew, there simply wasn't enough evidence to list Andrew as the victim of a kidnapping, let alone list him as being in Doug's custody. (Various authorities explained that convincing evidence could include texts or e-mails between Doug and Andrew, bus or airline tickets, or photographs of the two together, meaning that, unless a family abductor is extremely stupid or sloppy, it would be quite easy to get away with kidnapping a family member.)

In almost nine months, Dennis Mosier, the only person with legal custody of Andrew, has gone to bed every night — or at least tried to — without knowing where his boy is, or what kind of condition he is in. He has wondered why, since he believes Andrew is almost certainly not a runaway, nor has he been abducted by a stranger, it has been so difficult to lean on the people who are likely conspiring to keep him hidden away.

Mosier's sense of dread is painfully familiar. On a weekend in 2001, Carol, Andrew and Andrew's year-old brother Dean joined family friends the Greadys at their beach house in Galveston. Mosier, sacked out on the couch back in Houston, had been too sick to tag along.

Somehow, little Dean managed to crawl away without anyone noticing. By the time Andrew realized something was wrong and alerted his mom and the Greadys, it was too late. They found Dean in the swimming pool.

So Mosier has already experienced the worst phone call a parent can receive. Now he's left to wonder if there will be another one.
_____________________

Dennis Mosier and Carol Lazell were both late to services at First Methodist Church that Sunday in 1991.

Hard workers each, they were both delayed for medical reasons; Mosier at his neurology internship at Baylor College of Medicine, Lazell at her budding dental practice. Mosier was struck by her smarts and beauty. They married in 1995, and sons Andrew and Dean followed in 1996 and 2000, respectively.

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8 comments
Laura
Laura

okay I know thie might not be anything but thought it was interesting that when I search Douglas Lazell in Facebook this one popped up and says he lives in lakewood, co. I wonder if it is him and if so couldnt they track to where he is using his computer and such. IDK just thought it was interesting..... https://www.facebook.com/#!/Lo...

Christine
Christine

Hi Craig, Its Christine in Colorado.... has there been any update on this story????

3rd coast
3rd coast

The funeral comment is chilling. Is this child dead?

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

Talk about Karma!

The early history of Texas is filled with stories of outlaws coming to Texas to escape the law.

The U.S. Constitution forbids the federal police interfering until a sitting judge signs an order and the state police will not be bothered with picking up an outlaw wanted by another state.

And the other state police officers have no jurisdiction in Texas.

Now we have a Texan in Colorado and Colorado won't help find him.

'Tis payback.

Not going to change either until the U.S. Constitution is changed.

Hope the boys is OK!

Email
Email

"Dennis Mosier and Carol Lazell were both late to services at First Methodist ..." is hard to follow as to relevance. Carol and brother Doug seem like nut cases. Feel sorry for the children. Smarts and beauty can be tragic.

Bobdelgiorno
Bobdelgiorno

Wow. You wrote a story about a custody dispute. Well done.

SoSezYou
SoSezYou

What do you want? Why do morons like you ALWAYS complain about stories that your low intellect and childish lack of patience can't handle?

Click somewhere else, stupid.

antiM
antiM

I think this story is more about a failure in the system to help children in these situations.

 
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