Missing From: Greenwich, New York
Race: Biracial-White,African American
Age at disappearance: 12
Weight: 105 lbs
Jaliek was last seen on November 1, 2007. Jaliek is Biracial. He is Black and White. Jaliek was last seen wearing blue jeans, a yellow fleece pull-over and black tennis shoes. He has a slight speech impediment. Jaliek pronounces the letter “r” like a “w.”
Greenwich Village Police Department (New York)
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Two years later, search continues for Jaliek Rainwalker
GREENWICH — When word got out this week that a child’s skull had been found in the woods of Saratoga County, George Bell’s phone rang off the hook with people questioning whether the remains were those of missing Greenwich boy Jaliek Rainwalker.
However, it was the phone calls he didn’t receive that stood out most to Bell, who is the chief of police for the villages of Greenwich and Cambridge.
Neither he nor any other law enforcement official involved with the Rainwalker case received any calls from Rainwalker’s adoptive father or mother, Bell said.
“There’s been no communication,” Bell said. “I am concerned when we have a set of adoptive parents who haven’t reached out to us.”
The relationship between Rainwalker’s adoptive father, Stephen Kerr, and adoptive mother, Jocelyn McDonald, has been strained since the days after the boy was reported missing, when police began to focus on Kerr as a “person of interest” in the disappearance.
Kerr was the last person known to be with the 12-year-old and reported him missing from Kerr’s father’s home in the village of Greenwich on Nov. 1, 2007.
He told police he awoke that morning to find Rainwalker was gone, but police have said there are inconsistencies in his version of events that have left them questioning whether the boy ran away or was harmed by Kerr.
Kerr told police he took a certain route home from Albany County, but cell phone records show he was in a different area, police have said. He told police he didn’t leave his father’s home the night of Oct. 31, 2007, but police said they have evidence to contradict that claim.
Kerr has said he did not harm the boy, who had been in respite care in the days before his disappearance because of behavioral issues.
Bell said police continue to get new leads in the case, such as the occasional sighting of someone who looked like Rainwalker, or a psychic who analyzes the case.
In all, 377 leads have been chased by police over two years, and countless miles of woods, fields and waterways have been searched. But the question remains: What happened to Jaliek?
Barbara Reeley, McDonald’s mother and Jaliek’s adoptive grandmother, has shared the police opinion that he was likely victimized the night of Oct. 31, 2007, after Kerr picked him up from a respite home in Albany County.
Reeley said she was in Greenwich on Tuesday, putting up posters for a candlelight vigil in Jaliek’s honor, as word spread that a child’s remains had been found in Saratoga County. She said she was in Bell’s office as he fielded phone calls about the matter and had “mixed emotions” as they awaited word on whether the discovery was linked to Rainwalker.
On one hand, she said she holds out faint hope he’s still alive. On the other, she and others who loved the boy want closure if he is dead.
“In a way. I was upset when we found out it wasn’t (Rainwalker),” she said.
A message left on Kerr’s cell phone voice mail was not returned Friday. He and McDonald moved to Rupert, Vt., during the summer of 2008.
Kerr’s lawyer, Jeffrey McMorris, said his clients believe Rainwalker ran away, was likely picked up by someone and eventually will turn up. He said they have been using the Internet to try to track him.
“I don’t think there’s a parent anywhere who would ever give up on something like this,” McMorris said.
Bell said police aren’t holding out much hope that Rainwalker is still alive, given the fact there have been no signs that is the case.
He said he believes the police break in the case will come in a similar fashion to the way the child’s skull – it turned out the remains were those of a missing Colorado woman – were found this week in Greenfield.
“We’ve searched all of the waterways and done as much as we can,” he said. “It’s going to be a hunter stumbling upon a set of bones like we saw this week. We’re still hopeful we’ll locate him and bring some closure to it.”
The candlelight vigil is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Sunday in Mowry Park in the village of Greenwich.