Cover Story: Kidnapped by Family

Fourteen-year-old Andrew Mosier disappeared from his Houston home in August 2010. Two months prior, his uncle Doug Lazell, in violation of custody orders, took the boy to Colorado, an incident for which he now faces a felony charge of unlawful restraint.

Presumably, Lazell took his nephew to Colorado so he could be near his mother, who lost custody of her son due to what a Colorado court and family investigator believed were serious mental health issues. Lazell disappeared from his apartment in Colorado the week Andrew went missing, although his mother would cover the rent for the next eight months.

In the weeks and months since Andrew vanished, his father, Dennis Mosier, has done everything he can think of to find his boy. This week's cover story details Mosier's journey through a system he believes is dreadfully flawed. He's constantly hounded authorities; plastered Andrew's picture with every missing kids' group he could think of; got a court to order his ex-wife Carol Lazell to turn over phone and financial records that he believes might show she's been in contact with her brother -- an order she's violated.

Meanwhile, there is little evidence Andrew's mother has done much to look for him. This, coupled with Doug Lazell's disappearance, makes Dennis Mosier think the Lazells conspired to kidnap his son. The Lazells' actions have been suspicious, but, as Dennis Mosier has found, suspicion is no substitute for evidence. And in the absence of evidence, Andrew's disappearance can't even be called an abduction by the authorities.

Which is one reason why Dennis Mosier believes the system is fatally flawed. In the eight months he's looked for his boy, he feels he's hit roadblock after roadblock with the authorities. And unfortunately, it appears that there's not much a custodial parent can do if an ex-spouse -- or someone working with an ex-spouse -- is smart enough to take a child without leaving behind evidence on a silver platter.

Dennis Mosier's nightmare is especially galling, because, unlike the parent of a child who's been abducted by a stranger, he feels he knows who has his son. And he believes his ex-wife knows where his son is. And as odd as Carol Lazell has acted, there is not enough probable cause for authorities to comb through her records -- the same records she's withholding from a civil court proceeding.

And in the meantime, Andrew could be anywhere.

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow