Hide and Seek
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.
� 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.
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Louisville Cardinals College Football
TicketsThu., Nov. 17, 7:00pm
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTEP Miner Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 19, 11:00am
SWAC Football Championship
TicketsSat., Dec. 3, 3:00pm
TicketsSat., Jan. 7, 7:00pm
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.
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.
Of course, there was also Carol's brother Doug. They were kind of a package deal. When Dennis and Carol married, Doug was going through a divorce from a woman he had married less than a year earlier. There is little evidence that Doug ever maintained a successful relationship with a woman, which would have been an insignificant detail had it not been for the absurd alibi Doug would attempt to establish more than a decade later.
Andrew proved to be an intelligent boy. Dennis made sure Andrew was intellectually stimulated; they'd discuss current events and political cartoons and browse at bookstores. A family friend described his astonishment at seeing the preteen play chess online with three opponents simultaneously — and win each game. He liked watching the History Channel, DVDs about World War II and The Lord of the Rings. On his calendar, he checked off dates when new movies were coming out. Dennis found a check mark on the day Andrew disappeared, and a note for a movie scheduled to premiere on the following day.
He turned out to be quite the innovator as well. Dennis remembers a "restaurant-quality smoothie recipe" Andrew came up with when he was about eight. He also figured out that if he attached a Swiffer to a skateboard, he could skate and clean the floor at the same time. Perhaps more mischievously, Dennis writes, "he developed several original designs for catapulting objects across the room." A few months before he disappeared, Dennis writes, "he perfected a recipe for sautéing chicken medallions in malt vinegar that was again restaurant-quality."
He loved dogs and flying kites with his mom and dad in Hermann Park. He seemed to be drawn to anything airborne. Dennis writes: "One of my last memories of Andrew in 2007 before he was taken to Colorado was playing with one of the old-style balsa wood model planes powered by a rubber band-driven propeller. I taught him about the cardinal motions of roll, pitch and yaw, and about the forces that acted on a plane to keep it in the air..."
Dennis and Carol's marriage survived the tragedy of Dean's death, or, at least, that's the way it looked in the immediate aftermath. It wasn't until 2005, Dennis says, that he noticed a serious change in Carol's behavior. That's when he first realized that Carol had gotten herself into hundreds of thousands of dollars of credit card debt related to her dental practice.
Two years earlier, she, Doug and Andrew had been in a bad car accident, and she had complained of chronic pain ever since. Andrew had felt the effects for weeks after the accident, but even years later, Carol was obsessed with his health.
In 2006, Dennis says, Carol thought about selling her practice and getting a fresh start in Colorado, where the high altitude eased her pain. She looked into teaching opportunities at the University of Colorado. If that failed, Carol believed, colleagues in Denver might be able to partner with her or otherwise help her find work.
Dennis explained in an e-mail to the Houston Press that, "I noticed that Carol appeared more stressed and irritable around October 2006 and after, which I attributed to financial stress and pain. She declined my advice of financial counseling and stress management, and continued to insist that she could handle things. However, her debt had risen to $345K by early 2006 and $390K by early 2007. She made a couple of additional trips to Colorado and one or two to other states, reportedly to interview and scout opportunities, and always seemed more hopeful and less stressed after these trips. In early 2007 we had a couple of tense arguments about the finances, which I saw as becoming unmanageable. Carol seemed more withdrawn after that, and pushed me to remodel/repair our home so we could get a second mortgage to offset the business and medical debt so she could have time to make the situation financially viable. Carol returned from an extended business trip in April to tell me that she wanted to separate as the stress was too great, and she stayed in a nearby hotel or at her mom's place, as she said the dust and paint smells from the remodeling work were bothering her and Andrew."
Carol, Andrew and Doug moved to Lakewood, Colorado, in July 2007. Carol and Andrew visited several times between July and December, but when Dennis drove to Colorado for a Christmas get-together, he was unable to find his wife and son. Carol would later testify that she didn't know Dennis was coming to visit, and that she and Andrew had gone to Houston to surprise Dennis. Even if that were true, it did nothing to explain why Carol didn't answer Dennis's calls, and why, when Dennis arrived at the address Carol had given him, it turned out to be a UPS store.
By 2008, Dennis says, Carol was becoming uncommunicative and irrational. He filed for divorce and sought custody of Andrew. In the next year and a half, Carol's behavior grew even more bizarre.
In March 2009, she walked into the Lakewood Police Department to complain that she was being followed by people from a law firm hired by her husband, and that these people had let the air out of her car's tires on at least two occasions. She also told police, according to another report, that she believed Dennis to be "paying people to tap into her computer and telephone line." She left a phone number with the officer, but she never set up her voice mail. The officer was never able to reach her.
In a subsequent letter to the Colorado judge handling the custody dispute, Carol explained that it was difficult to catch the "goon squads" she believed Dennis had hired in action. Moreover, she explained, in the third person, "These various individuals have been 'in your face' with menacing looks while Mother has left work and also when she has been with Andrew Mosier and he has been fearful. In late summer of 2009, Mother was advised that there were two 'foiled' attempts to kidnap Andrew Mosier."
She continued: "...When the people stalking us began to sit in a no parking zone by the exit to our apartment when we should leave and circle our apartment complex repeatedly at night a move to safety was needed. The best hotel rate with security was found at the Denver airport Residence Inn." Even then, she alleged, Andrew had complained about being followed, and there was another kidnapping attempt at the hotel "while near but out of range of security cameras."
Carol then transferred Andrew to a different school, against court orders. In a letter to the court, she explained that the school Dennis had selected — and that the court approved — was crawling with "hardened juvenile delinquent criminals and juvenile psychotics" that put Andrew "in fear of his life."
She wrote that "kidnapping risk, open doors, and the lack of security is open for another Columbine experience just waiting to happen" and expressed concern that "sexual predators can enter the student bathroom stalls."
Then, in a November 2, 2009, deposition, Carol voiced allegations for the first time that Dennis verbally abused her and Andrew, and, on one occasion, caused Andrew to "dislocate" his neck. She explained that, on one night in 2007, Dennis was yelling at Andrew, who was in his bed. Andrew burrowed beneath the covers to protect himself, and "sheets went around Andrew's neck. And that next morning, he told me he was — his neck was sore, it was bothering him. And it was a fairly violent physical encounter, and I did at that time raise my voice and asked [Dennis] to please stop."
A day or two later, Carol testified, she took Andrew to a "physical therapist" who told her that "it was the worst neck dislocation that he had seen in a child."
According to Carol, the therapist asked her if she wanted to contact Children's Protective Services, but she declined, saying instead that she and Andrew would be moving into a hotel immediately.
Carol also made allegations about Dennis being controlling and harsh toward Andrew, to the point where the boy was in total fear of his father. She described an incident in which he tried to rope off some interior French doors with dental floss so Dennis could not get to him. But the worst allegations wouldn't come until months later.
In January 2010, Jefferson County (Colorado) District Judge Joel Schaefer granted sole custody of Andrew to Dennis.
Schaefer ruled that Andrew was "endangered" in Carol's care, based in part on her removal of Andrew from his school; on the fact that she did not allow Andrew to communicate with Dennis and denied Dennis access to Andrew's medical records; and on the court-appointed child and family investigator's concerns over Carol's "mental health," "severe alienation" from Dennis "and the child's lack of progress in many areas over the past couple of years."
Schaefer wrote that "the child's physical health and emotional development will be imminently endangered should the child have unsupervised time with [Carol] and/or remain residing with [Carol]." The judge ruled that Carol's "contact with the child shall be supervised at all times by a licensed mental professional or by a third party agreed upon in writing between the parties."
According to Dennis, Andrew regressed socially, physically and academically while in Carol's care. Not only had she alienated him from his father, she had turned him into something of a nervous wreck. But, according to Dennis, he was improving once he moved back to Houston. Unfortunately, his time here was short-lived.
In a motion filed after Andrew's disappearance, Dennis's attorney alleged that "during the five months prior to [Doug's] June 18 abduction of Andrew, Andrew was progressing well in school, significantly decreasing his dependence on pain medications, exercising and losing weight, socializing, attending church, seeing his doctors, and was generally satisifed and cooperative in his new environment with [Dennis]."
By the time 13-year-old Andrew returned to his father's care, the boy had swollen to 221 pounds on a 5'9" frame. For the past two years, Carol had shuttled her son back and forth to pediatricians, dermatologists, pain specialists, chiropractors and physical therapists, apparently concerned that any exercise or physical exertion would have a deleterious effect on his health.
On June 18, 2010, Dennis drove to the Greadys' home to pick up Andrew.
He had been staying with them that afternoon while Dennis worked late. But when he got there, Jerry and Barbara Gready told him Andrew had left for Colorado with Doug.
Apparently, the Greadys didn't realize that the boy's uncle was committing a felony right under their noses. As described in the complaint filed in Harris County District Court, Doug showed up at the Greadys' home that night and explained that he had "a plane ticket to take Andrew to Colorado with him that night for a visit. Mr. Gready thought that Dennis Mosier had agreed to this visitation and took Andrew Mosier and Douglas Lazell to [the airport]..."
In Colorado, Andrew stayed with his uncle at a Super 8 Motel. Carol would later testify that she had no idea that Doug had taken her son to Colorado, and that as soon as Doug told her what he did, she took swift measures to return the boy.
In a subsequent deposition, Carol said of Doug's actions: "I think he made a stupid...decision. I think he and Andrew both did. And I do not, you know, condone what happened. But I do know they were very close as an uncle and nephew, because Doug was often there in the place of his father."
Less than two weeks after Andrew returned to Houston, Carol accused Dennis of raping Andrew. The allegations, she said, came from Andrew himself. She sought a temporary restraining order.
Carol swore in an affidavit attached to her motion that Andrew "made an outcry of sexual abuse by his father, Dennis Mosier. I am terrified that if this outcry is substantiated, and if Andrew is returned to his father, he will irreparably be harmed and the abuse will continue. My ex-husband has a history of abuse towards me and is the reason I originally moved to Colorado several years ago. I did not want to believe that Dennis could or would also harm our son, but deep down I always feared he would." (Curiously, Andrew didn't complain about the abuse while he was in Colorado, 900 miles away from his father, and in the vicinity of his mother. Instead, Andrew spent the night in a hotel room with his alleged rapist, then flew back to Houston with him the following day.)
A Harris County district judge issued a temporary restraining order, and Andrew was removed to his maternal grandmother's home while CPS investigated. After no evidence of abuse was found, Carol agreed to voluntarily drop the restraining order. Two days after Andrew returned to his father's home, August 5, 2010, he disappeared again.
According to family friend Jerry Gready, Andrew was not happy in his father's home and had vowed to run away if forced to stay there. Gready also said Andrew told his wife, Barbara Gready, that he'd been sexually abused by his father. (The Press attempted to interview Barbara Gready on several occasions. The first time, she explained that she was too busy grocery shopping. The second time, she was busy eating lunch with company. She declined to schedule a time for an interview.)
When the temporary restraining order was dropped and Andrew was being moved from his grandmother's home back to his father's, Jerry Gready said, "He was very adamant about the fact that he was not going to be able to live with his dad...I said, 'Andrew, you've got to let the system work.' And Andrew said, 'Well, I'm not going in there...I'm not going to live there anymore.'"
Gready also said that, when Andrew lived with his mother in Colorado, "During that two years, what's interesting to me is, that there was no effort particularly made to get Andrew to come back to visit or to come back [and] move down here or whatever. But all of a sudden, after the divorce became final...Dennis decided, I guess, that he was going to...have Andrew back at whatever the cost would be."
The Greadys have had a long relationship with Andrew's family, a friendship that has certainly seen its share of turmoil. It was at the Greadys' home on Jamaica Beach that Andrew's little brother drowned. And it was from the Greadys' home in Houston that Doug took Andrew in June 2010.
T hat same month, Doug disappeared from the apartment he rented two miles away from Carol's, according to the complex's property managers.
But from August 2010 through April 2011, Doug's rent was covered by a check from Carol's mom, Hazel Godhelp, who was now living with Carol. Carol would later testify, in an August 30, 2010 deposition, that she had no idea where Doug was, and that the last she had heard, he was off with a new girlfriend. (Godhelp did not return numerous voice mails.)
This was also reflected on Doug's Facebook wall, where he wrote on August 28: "New girlfriend is smoking hot! We are so great together...every day and night is sooo special!" and "Moved west and love the mountains in summer, even more fun in a five bedroom house with a HOTTIE!" (That Doug would want to suddenly announce his involvement with a HOTTIE is understandable; after all, the unemployed 52-year-old did not appear to have much luck with the ladies. In fact, prior to those posts, two weeks after his nephew's disappearance, he had never written anything about girlfriends on his MySpace or Facebook pages.)
Carol testified that she did not know the name of the girlfriend, saying, "I'm not that involved in my brother's life."
Although Doug was ultimately charged with unlawful restraint for taking Andrew to Colorado in June, the delay in filing the charge may have boosted Doug's confidence, Dennis says. (Doug Lazell did not respond to Facebook messages, and no one could provide a working number for him.)
"I think getting away with it the first time may have led to him being more aggressive, more willing to commit another crime," Dennis speculates. He believes the only reason Andrew was returned in June was that Doug made the mistake of taking him in front of witnesses.
Moreover, Dennis got the feeling that, even though his son had been taken once before, this new disappearance wasn't being treated as a priority. For one thing, he says, the lack of evidence that someone had broken into the home led the West University police to list Andrew as a runaway. This meant no Amber Alert, and also meant no federal jurisdiction.
"I understand that they can't just [list] someone missing — they have to state something according to their rules as to what they think this is," Dennis says. "But when you list somebody as a runaway, that downgrades the way people treat it. And Andrew had just been abducted a month and a half before."
But while Andrew was listed as a runaway, Dennis says, every investigator he spoke with gave the impression that they believed it was most likely that Doug had taken Andrew. There was just not enough proof to officially call it an abduction. And if it couldn't be designated an abduction, that meant that, initially, investigators were reluctant to list Andrew as "endangered" — even though a court had prohibited any contact between Doug and Andrew, as well as declared that Andrew would be "endangered" if left in his mother's care.
"It's extremely arbitrary," Dennis says. "You could have one officer in one district saying, 'Okay, I get this. This is endangerment.' You could have another officer saying, 'I won't declare it endangerment unless you've got a photograph with the bruises.'"
In September, Dennis contacted his state legislators, pleading for their help in getting the Harris County District Attorney's Office to file charges against Doug for either the June or August disappearances. (The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children suggests reaching out to legislators "if a prosecutor fails to file criminal charges without justification.")
He received a quick reply from state Senator Joan Huffman, whose frustration over the case was detailed in a January 14, 2011, letter to Harris County DA Pat Lykos.
"After talking to [the Houston and West University police departments] about the case, I contacted [a prosecutor in the office] on September 14, 2010, asking that the case be re-examined. On October 27, 2010, I met with you and members of your staff on legislative business, and while I was there I provided a written memo regarding the case and again requested that the case be investigated. As of this date, no formal action has been taken by your office and the child is still missing. Dr. Mosier is understandably extremely upset and at this point so am I."
Huffman continued: "Based on my experience as a former prosecutor in the District Attorney's office, a former Criminal District Judge and as current Vice-Chair of the Criminal Justice committee, I am baffled by the District Attorney's Office's lack of action in this case. If your office does not believe there is sufficient evidence to either file charges or present the case to a grand jury, then I believe you have an obligation to inform Dr. Mosier and explain your position. Both Dr. Mosier and my office have made numerous requests to your office for updates on this case....Neither of us has received a satisfactory answer as to the reason for the delay. A child has been missing for 162 days and although I do understand it is a complex case, I do not understand why a case where a child is missing does not rise to the level of top priority. [sic]"
Five days later, on January 19, Lykos replied to Huffman.
"Andrew Mosier's safe return to his father and the jurisdiction of the court are priorities of this office," Lykos assured the senator. "The ethical limitations imposed on this office constrain the nature and extent of information we disclose. Because of these limitations it may appear that we have been uncommunicative to you or Dr. Mosier. Be assured that this office is proceeding as expeditiously as we can in view of the nature of various allegations and conflicting stories." (Huffman wrote in her response that "I am pleased to know that we all have Andrew's safe return as a top priority.")
Eight days later, the DA's office charged Doug with unlawful restraint of a child — a felony — for the June incident. However, that charge was not enough for the FBI to take the lead in the investigation of Andrew's August disappearance; the West University Police Department would still be the lead agency.
In a January 19, 2011, e-mail to Dennis, an agent in the FBI's Denver office explained what was required for the FBI to open a parental kidnapping case: "Mr. Mosier - I understand your frustration as a father looking for his son. There are narrow parameters which allow the FBI to conduct investigations into parental kidnapping matters. There has to be a criminal arrest warrant issued for a party for felony violation of a State Courts custodial order. In other words, a Judge would have to issue a criminal warrant for your former spouse or her brother for violation of the custody order concerning Andrew. Earlier today I spoke with Mr. Don McWilliams of the Harris County District Attorney's Office. He told me that his office was considering criminal charges in this matter. If a criminal arrest warrant is issued it would facilitate the FBI involvement in this investigation. If in fact the Harris County DA obtains an arrest warrant in this case the Houston Division will open a case and set leads to other Divisions to conduct logical investigation. Without a open FBI case there is little I am allowed to do by law [sic]."
However, Houston FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap told the Press that the FBI's Houston office applauded the DA's decision to charge Doug in the June incident, calling it a vital tool to help "locate the uncle to develop additional evidence" in the August disappearance. Furthermore, she said, "The FBI is coordinating with West University and the Harris County DA's office in the investigation, and all agencies will continue to coordinate and assist in order to bring the boy back home safely."
Carol Lazell's lawyer, Michael Canges, takes umbrage at the idea that his client knows where her son is.
And Canges is the one expressing said umbrage, because Carol doesn't want to talk to the Press.
"This is a very painful experience for her, and frankly, it's...pretty personal," Canges says. "So I don't think that would be something that anyone would want to see in print."
She apparently doesn't want to talk to investigators, either. Whereas before Andrew's disappearance, she made repeated trips to the Lakewood Police Department to complain about the air being let out of her tires, there is no record of her alerting authorities about Andrew. (Detective Armendariz said that, while Carol has returned phone calls, she "hasn't been too involved...she doesn't really contact us as much as the father does.")
Canges's client is one of those rare breeds of mothers who don't want to grab every cop, reporter, private investigator and stranger by the collar and shove a picture of her missing son in his face. She also doesn't want to put herself through the discomfort of calling investigators on a regular basis to see if they have any leads. (Carol testified that "I haven't been calling [Detective Armendariz] and people routinely because it's very upsetting.")
From what Canges says, the pain makes her withdraw, and she adopts a sort of laissez-faire approach to the investigation of her son's disappearance. After all, once authorities know a child is missing, what more can a parent do, really?
And the more Canges explains, the less clear it becomes whether he's merely playing dumb.
For example, when asked if his client's mother was paying Doug's rent, he says, "I have no idea...I don't know how we'd find that out."
He also says that Carol is "doing everything she can...I don't know what more she can do."
When asked if she ever considered courting her local media, like her ex-husband has done in Texas, Canges sidesteps, saying merely, "I think it is in the media. Obviously, you're aware of that."
When it's explained that it's in the media because the father has been shouting from the rooftops, Canges drops some psychology: "Everybody handles their pain a little differently, okay? Some people like to advertise it. Some people like to become very, very visible [and] wear it on their sleeves. Other people are very private, and other people, because they are so pained, choose to remain somewhat private. But at this point in time, this disappearance is on every law enforcement network. It is on every media, every publication that it could be reported on. So if your question is: 'My goodness, because she's not out crying and screaming and giving press interviews every 20 minutes....'"
When we ask if, instead of holding press conferences every 20 minutes in order to find her missing boy, she ever considered holding one in eight months, Canges continues his line of logic-resistant feedback: "I have no idea," he says. "Have you talked to her?"
Unsure if the question is rhetorical, we explain that when we try talking to her, we get Canges instead. That's when he reiterates that her son's disappearance "is a very private issue with her."
Furthermore, Canges says, "You tell me what it is you think she should be doing...What she's doing is, she is grieving, and she is desperately trying to get information from anybody about the location of her son."
When asked for an example of this desperate searching, Canges gets downright snippy: "If you think that she knows where he is, I can't disabuse you...Do you know where Obama's birth certificate is? Do you know if there's Martians on the moon? I mean, obviously you have the ability to divine things that I don't have."
During an August 30, 2010, status conference held in Jefferson County District Court, Carol said she had no idea where Andrew was, and that she was "very, very upset and worried." She said she kept "having dreams" that he was somewhere on Westpark Road in West University, because it's a road she and Andrew often took while running errands.
"But I haven't had a chance to go down there yet," Carol said. "And was advised actually not to under the circumstances."
Carol also testified that she contacted the Lakewood Police Department, which dispatched two officers to interview Doug and search his apartment on August 9, four days after Andrew disappeared.
However, Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis said there was no record of Lakewood officers interviewing Doug, or searching his apartment, on that date.
An LPD officer did attempt to interview Doug on January 11, 2011, but "received no answer" when he knocked on the door, according to the officer's report. The officer wrote that the property manager explained that she hadn't seen Doug for "well over 6 months" and that "sometimes a [woman] who stated she was Doug's sister come[s] to the apartment."
When asked by Dennis's attorney what she'd done to look for her missing son, Carol said she had called the Denver and Aurora police departments, and that she "checked with" the Arapahoe Sheriff's Department. (She said she didn't mention to these agencies that her brother had taken Andrew two months prior and that a warrant had been issued for his arrest in that matter.)
Additionally, she said, "I've gone on the Internet and I've looked at sites for runaway children," and said that she had talked to Andrew's old friends in Colorado. She said she also spoke with a friend of hers in Houston who works for FOX affiliate KRIV. (The friend did not return messages left by the Press.)
Dennis had requested that Carol turn over phone and financial records for the August 30 status conference, suspecting that such records might indicate contact between Carol and Doug in the days after Andrew's disappearance. However, Carol fought the request on the grounds that Dennis was working in tandem with law enforcement and wanted the records to help authorities build a criminal case.
Carol filed a motion asserting "a Fifth Amendment objection to providing these documents on the grounds that they may, however benign they may initially appear, be used to incriminate her in some future proceeding."
However, the judge ordered Carol to turn over the documents. Four months later, after Dennis's attorney claimed that Carol had not turned over a complete set, the judge ordered Carol to appear at a show-cause hearing to explain why she had violated the court's order. Originally scheduled for March 2011, it was reset for June.
On April 8, 245 days after Andrew's disappearance, the property manager at the complex where Doug lived changed the locks to his apartment.
This was because, for the first time since Andrew disappeared, the manager hadn't received a rent check from Doug's mother.
Carol insists she hasn't heard from Doug, who supposedly played an important role in Andrew's life. The story, then, is that while Andrew is wandering the streets on his own, or in the clutches of a stranger, or dead in a ditch, Doug is too busy enjoying his new life with his girlfriend to answer authorities' questions. Or perhaps, because of the felony warrant, he's too concerned about his own hide.
Canges, Carol's lawyer, says of Doug, "He might be in Texas, he might be in Colorado, he might be in New York, who the hell knows where he is? Do you know where he is? Do the police — I mean, the police, that's their job."
Of course, Carol has expressed concern that the police are working with Dennis, which is why she won't turn over phone and credit card records. She's worried that such information might incriminate her. Besides, Carol stated in court records, if authorities have probable cause, they can circumvent Dennis and get the records directly from her.
Meanwhile, Canges says, Carol is grieving. And this she does in her own way.
On the Sunday after Andrew's Thursday disappearance, Carol walked from her apartment to a Great Clips salon to have her hair cut.
In a deposition, she explained that "I was afraid there might be a funeral or something coming up."
Dennis's attorney didn't follow up on that, so it's unclear just what Carol meant.
It's unclear if, three days after her son's disappearance, she knew something no one else did.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.