Gene and George laughed at what they saw just happened. They heard the boys laughing and a few of them complaining that Kyle got the bulk of the candy. It was then Gene's cell phone rang.
As Gene listened, he was told that Sheriff's Lieutenant Matthias and Sergeant Roberts were on their way and were at the bottom of the street and walking slowly up to them. The security man also learned that there were four patrol units hanging back and could be there in less than twelve seconds once they were told the men in the step van were making their move.
When that phone call was over, Sheriff's Lieutenant Dan Fischer called Ken and told him what their plan was. Ken wanted to go over to the street, to be with his 'boys', but Dan told him he'd be in the way and that they have six officers, including Matthias and Roberts who would soon be with the boys and his security men. Dan told his friend they were ready to go in and arrest the men after they tried to do something.
Dan explained that if Julian is there they can arrest him for his forging Vivian Parchsons' signature on the Power of Attorney. Dan then told Ken that if there is anyone with him they could get away scot-free if they don't do anything illegal and being in a van with Julian is not against the law. Ken wasn't happy with what he was hearing, but he had to trust Dan and his men to get this done.
It wasn't more than a minute later that Robert called his 'dad'.
"'Dad' ... Lieutenant Matthias and Sergeant Roberts ... they are here with us now. I feel a lot better now that they are here. The other boys ... they are all getting tired and we're all ready to come home. Lieutenant Matthias has asked us to finish going up the last few houses and by then he told us if anyone in the van is out to hurt us they would do it by then.
"'Dad' ... is this ... is this how Charles felt when Smokey was out after him? I don't know how he could deal with all the anxiety not knowing if Smokey would ever find him. 'Dad' I can't wait ... I can't wait until this is all over," got out the much stressed out teenager.
'Dad' Ken asked his 'son' to do his best to look out after his 'brothers', keep them safe and to try to be strong and someone all the boys can look up to. 'Dad' Ken told his 'son' he would be right there when Dan tells him he can. Ken also reminded the teen that he was with four armed men who are trained to protect and defend, and he really didn't have much to worry about. Robert told his 'dad' that he loved him and he'd see him soon. Then he hung up.
Eric was right there beside his Best Friend, Robert, and he could see the stress in the teen's face. He wanted to hug and hold his Best Friend, but knew this was not the place, nor the time. Robert could feel Eric watching him, so he looked at his Best Friend and told him what their 'dad' just told him. That put a smile on Eric's face and that transferred to Robert's. The two went over to the other boys.
"Boys, I want you to continue to what you were doing and before you know it you'll all be walking back to The Cove," was what Brandt Matthias was saying, as Robert and Eric walked back to the group.
Robert looked at his friends and 'brothers' and told them that he just talked to Mr. Ken who told them to just press on and they have four men who are trained to protect them. The teen told them there was only one way to go and that was towards the top and they'd spent way too much time talking.
Robert also told them that the adults were talking and making it look good, but that they should be hitting the last few houses as they talked. The boys, knowing the only way back to The Cove was to go to the top of the block and then turn right agreed and they all started to walk up the hill and towards the next house.
The lads continued to slowly walk to the next house and instead of them going up in groups, they all decided to go as one big group. Kevin rang the doorbell and a man answered. That startled the lads as they usually had a woman open the door.
"Trick-Or-Treat," called out Kevin in a shaky voice.
"Oh, out begging for candy are we? It's getting a bit late and don't you think you, ahh, lads should head on home?" asked the man, as he grabbed his candy bowl and emptied it all into Kevin's standard orange Jack-O-Lantern container overfilling it and allowing candy to fall on the porch.. The man then closed his door and turned his light off.
Cody was beside himself after seeing how both twins got the bulk of the candy offerings at the last two houses, but seeing the candy spread out on the porch, he and the other lads dove in to pick it up and put into their pillowcases.
"Hey ... I think I'm going to do what Kyle did to that lady back there at the next house," said Cody. "She gave him all that extra candy because he told her he was tired. He got the pity handout. Maybe I can play tired, too," laughed Cody. A few of the others joined in.
Cody then said he wasn't going to be left out at the next house, so he ran up ahead. As he ran to the house the others began to quickly follow. Gene and George called out to the boys to stop and wait up for them, but the lads were almost fifteen feet ahead of the security men.
As soon as the boys were so much ahead of the adults the white step van jumped out and away from the curb and headed towards the boys. The van stopped on an angle to the street with its headlight high beams blaring onto the boy's faces, trying to disorient them. Lieutenant Matthias saw what was happening and he pulled out his cell phone and called Dan and told him what was going down.
Robert heard the screech of the tires as the driver slammed on his brakes. He looked up and the headlights of the van sort of blinded him, but he did make out and could see that man, Julian, who tried to take the twins a few weeks back, jump out and come running towards the four smaller lads.
Then, three other men came running out right behind him, each carrying some sort of long bag. Robert yelled to all the boys to run. Kevin's big clown feet slowed him down so much that one of the other men grabbed him and put a long dark colored pillowcase like bag over him and then picked him up and began carrying him back to the step van.
Kyle saw the man grab his twin, so he went over and began hitting the man and yelling for the man to let his brother go. That gave another man the opportunity to grab the other twin. That man didn't put anything over Kyle, he just picked him up and began to run with him back to the open back doors of the van.
It all happened so fast that Robert didn't begin to act until he heard Kyle yelling and running after his twin. Robert, followed by Eric, ran towards both men in order to get the twins back. But they didn't need to bother. Both Mr. Gene and Mr. George had already reacted and had both men down on the ground with plastic handcuffs around their wrists by the time they arrived next to the van.
By then four Sheriff's squad cars had sped up and surrounded the step van. The four Sheriff Deputies quickly jumped out of their vehicles, with their guns drawn, and two ran towards where the other two men were spread out on the ground with Matthias and Roberts holding them with their service guns pointed at them both. The other two Sheriff Deputies went over to where Gene and George were holding the other two men.
"Well, I see you didn't need us?" laughed Lieutenant Dan Fischer, as he walked up to Lieutenant Brandt Mathis and Sergeant William Roberts.
Dan then pulled out his cell phone and called Ken. He told him all the men were in custody and he could now come over to his 'boys'. Five minutes later Mr. Ken Thomas came running and headed to his 'sons' and was hugging his four 'boys' and crying right along with them.
Eric, Josh, Gordon, Cody and David looked on as Mr. Ken comforted his 'son's', but especially the twins since they realized it was that man Julian who came to take them away.
By then all the red flashing lights drew a large crowd of residents and the last of the Trick-Or-Treaters who were out on the same block when the takedown was done. Many of them had cell phones and they were taking pictures and videos. There was nothing they missed before the Deputies began to cordon off the large area.
When Mr. Ken got his 'boys' calmed down he called the other lads over. He told them that they better call their parents and tell them what just happened. He told the boys that the Sheriff Deputies would eventually take them all down to their main headquarters to take their statements. The owner of The Cove then told the lads that their parents could come there, but they probably won't be allowed to talk to them until after they give their statements as to what they saw just happened.
It was then Sheriff Barnes arrived at the incident. Lieutenants Fischer and Matthias briefed their boss on what was done and who they had in custody. The Sheriff then went over to Mr. Ken and thanked him for all his cooperation. The Sheriff then thanked all the boys for not panicking and letting his men do their job.
It was Kyle who then spoke up and told the Sheriff that Mr. Gene and Mr. George were the ones who saved him and his brother from being put into the van. The Sheriff thanked the twin for telling him that. The Sheriff then went over to the security men and thanked them for their help.
Once the Sheriff was on the scene that automatically brought out many more of his men to cover the scene and handle the forensics and the onlookers. All this activity caused lots of radio traffic and the TV and newspapers heard it all on their police scanners and sent people to cover what just happened on that block.
Once the TV crews set up at the top of the block, and began to report from the scene, more and more local residents came out to gawk at what was occurring right there in their own neighborhood. The TV reporters were trying to get a good view of everyone involved and Mr. Ken was trying to keep all the lads from being on the nightly news.
Sheriff Barnes knew what Mr. Ken was trying to do, so he called for the police SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) van to be sent there to transport the large number of victims back to headquarters. They were told to come in from the lower end of the street.
While Mr. Ken and the boys were waiting for the SWAT van, Mr. Ken called Bill Jackson and told him what just went down. He asked for him and Stewart Russell to please meet them at the County Sheriff's Headquarters and to bring some of his associates because there were nine lads, thirteen and under, involved.
When Mr. Ken was finished talking to Bill he called Jules Diamond to tell him what happened. Jules said he'd call his lawyers to represent Gene and George and have them at Headquarters within the hour.
By then, the other five lad's parents arrived on the scene. Dan saw them arrive and, since he knew them, he walked over to them and asked them not to call out their son's name. He explained the reporters would descend on them and never give them a moment's peace. He explained where their loved ones would be taken and they could talk to them there. They all thanked him for his caring attitude and told him they'd talk to him later. The parents then got in their vehicles and headed over to the headquarters.
The SWAT van pulled up in such a way that the TV reporters couldn't see who was being loaded into it. And, even if they did get a view of their faces they couldn't tell who they were as the lads still had make-up or their masks on. The TV people did get partial facial views of Gene and George, but the men didn't care as that came as part of the job.
As Mr. Ken headed back to The Cove to get a vehicle he could bring his charges back with, one reporter recognized him and stopped him to ask why he was there and if he knew any of the people involved. He told the reporter that he lives less than a five-minute walk away and with all the activity in that direction he decided to walk over to see what happened. The reporter accepted that answer and let him go on his way.
The SWAT van pulled into the back parking lot so any nosey reporters couldn't see who was being brought into the building. Once the boys were there, they were all taken into a large open area next to the interview rooms. Robert then asked if they all could use the restroom. He told the officers that they'd been holding it for quite some time and they wouldn't be able to think clearly with full bladders. The officers showed them where the male facilities were and let them all go relieve themselves.
Mr. Ken arrived at the Sheriff's Headquarters about fifteen minutes after the boys were taken inside. Initially, the desk sergeant wasn't going to allow Mr. Ken into the back where the interview rooms where. Dan Fischer was waiting and watching for Ken to arrive. When he saw his friend park his truck, he went out to the entrance vestibule and heard what the Duty Sergeant said. Dan saw the anger begin to build in Ken's face, so he stepped up and told the sergeant that he was the 'dad' of four of the victims and he should already be back with his boys.
It wasn't until Sheriff Barnes, himself, came out into the vestibule and called the man, Mr. Ken, that the sergeant knew he'd messed up by not asking the man for his identification and his connection to the victims as he should initially have done. He swallowed hard and hoped the Sheriff and the Lieutenant hadn't noticed.
The Cover lads all ran to Mr. Ken when they saw him enter the back area.
"'Dad', 'dad', 'dad'," is what Mr. Ken heard from all the lads as the boys ran towards him when they saw him. They all grabbed one another and the five of them were quickly in a big group hug. When Mr. Ken saw Eric standing back, he motioned for him to join them. Eric got a great big smile on his face at being asked to join with his 'brothers', so he quickly walked to where they were all grouped.
That same type of hugging reunion went on five more times as Josh, Gordon, Cody, David and Eric finally met up with their parents. As the parents and their sons reunited, the boys began telling their moms and dads what happened. They then told the parents they had to give their statements before they could go home.
When David's parents, Sophie and Nolan Fritzer, saw Mr. Ken they went over to talk to him.
"Mr. Ken, did you know this was going to happen tonight? Tell us truthfully, now!" demanded Sophie Fritzer. "David told us you hired some security guards to go out with them. So ... what is it?" further demanded momma bear Sophie Fritzer.
"Sophie, Nolan, yes I did hire two security guards to accompany my boys as they walked the blocks Trick-Or-Treating. What you both don't know is a few, maybe three, weeks back, a man ... he came to The Cove to try to take the twins away. He didn't have the right paperwork nor had he gotten the approval of Judge Richards or Director Turner for the proper release of Kevin and Kyle to him.
"That same man then went to the school the next morning and tried to demand Principal Chadwick release the twins to him, but the Sheriff's Deputies were called and he was arrested. I was afraid that he might try something, again, but I had no indication he would. Please understand that at the same time I wasn't going to take any chances with the boys being out on the street without someone to chaperone them.
"The twins told me they didn't remember going out Trick-Or-Treating and they really wanted to go, so I agreed to let them go. But, I did give them one condition, that they had to have the two security men, Gene and George, along with them to supervise, and protect them if anything should happen" explained Mr. Ken. By then the other parents had gravitated over and were listening in.
Dan Fischer heard his friend trying to explain to the lad's parents what he knew, so he went over and asked them all to follow him into a private room and he would tell them, what he could, what happened tonight.
"Ok, let me tell you how this all came about. Some Bandera County Detectives called Lieutenant Matthias tonight and asked him if he knew a man named Terry. The two detectives talked about the possibilities, but Matthias couldn't help him. About a half hour, or so, later the detective calls the lieutenant back and asked if he knew a man called Terryman. That name was familiar to our lieutenant which got the two men talking.
"Then, before long, with other information the Bandera detective had, the two detectives had this notion that the man, who we now know was Julian Hankers, and was the man who tried to take the twins away three weeks ago, might be out to gain custody of the twins one more time and try something. But all they had was a 'gut' feeling'. They had no proof, and no other information to go by.
"Phone calls were made; a plan was devised and after that was put into place Mr. Ken was told what we thought, and what we planned. I told Mr. Ken that we couldn't do anything until the people in the van did something. ...," and Sheriff's Lieutenant Dan Fischer continued to tell the parents how the apprehension of the four men came about that evening.
Mr. Ken was happy that Dan showed up when he did as he only knew what he was told and that was just about ten minutes before the men in the van made their move.
The parents were attentive and didn't ask Dan Fischer any questions until he was finished. Then they wanted to know Mr. Ken's involvement, and if he knew beforehand that those men were going to attack their sons. Lt. Fischer told the parents that what Mr. Ken told them was true. The lieutenant told them the man learned what was going to happen after the undercover detectives were almost in place and the squad cars were ready to act.
Dan Fischer further told the parents that Mr. Ken couldn't do anything about the men as he was a good five minutes away from the lads and he had been specifically told not to go there and interfere. The Sheriff's Lieutenant explained that once they had an idea that Julian Hankers might try something they set up the trap knowing the lads had four professionally trained men protecting them.
While the parents and Mr. Ken, along with Dan Fischer, talked about what happened that night, the lads were being interviewed. Bill Jackson and Stewart Russell, and Bill's brother David sat in with the boys as they told their stories. Since the boys were minors they needed representation and it was felt that with the parents in the room with the boys they'd be distracted and might not be as open with mom and dad in the room.
The Sheriff Deputies explained to the parents they would inevitably cause their sons to hesitate to tell them things they might not want them to hear. The parents asked "What types of things?", but the deputies said that was the trouble as they didn't know what the boys would, or would not tell them.
It was then, Mr. Ken came over to the parents and told them he hired lawyers for each of the boys, so they could be legally represented and they could then talk openly and freely. He then told the moms and dads that even he wasn't going to be in the room with his four foster boys. That sort of mollified the parents.
With eleven people to interview it would take a long time. Gene and George asked that the boys go first as they'd been out a long time and they were all getting tired. The investigators started with Kevin and Kyle since they had actually been grabbed by two of the men and it was thought they would have much more to say. Since there only a few interview rooms and three investigators available, it took over two hours for all nine lads to make their statements and be fully interviewed by the Sheriff's Investigators.
When the boys would finish their interview, they didn't want to leave. They told their parents they wanted to wait for their friends and all leave at the same time. When all nine lads were finished and their parents wanted them to go home, David argued with his mom and dad that he was supposed to spend the night with Charles, and he wanted to go home with Mr. Ken and Charles. That disagreement caused somewhat of a stir here in the Sheriff's Headquarters.
"David, you've had enough excitement for tonight,' argued Sophie Fritzer. "You're coming home with us!"
"But mom, you said I could spend the night and we didn't do anything wrong. We went Trick-Or-Treating and it was those men who wanted to kidnap Kevin and Kyle, not me or Charles or any of the other boys. It isn't fair that because of what those men did, I get punished," David loudly argued back, while a few tears began to run down his face.
While the Fritzer's were discussing where David would spend the night, Eric and his mom, Judy, were having a similar but a much more quiet discussion. Judy wanted her son to go home with her, too, so she could keep an eye on him. Eric argued, like David, that he hadn't' done anything wrong and he had been protected by Gene and George as well as Lt. Matthias and Sgt. Roberts.
While the Fritzer's and Turner's discussed where the boys would spend the night, Joshua Xions, Gordon Thomason and Cody Orbauch were going home with their parents. They stopped to thank Mr. Gene and Mr. George for protecting them tonight. They then asked Mr. Ken if he could protect their stash of candy from the guards until they got over there tomorrow. That question brought out a lot of laughs that helped break the tension that was in that room.
Mr. Ken told the three Trick-Or-Treaters he'd make sure the guards didn't eat any of their chocolates and, if they did, he'd replace what they took with the extra he had leftover. The owner of The Cove also told the boys that if any reporters stop and talk to them they should just say they were out on the street at the time the police arrived and because you were close they brought you in to tell them what you saw. Then, the four Cover lads walked to their friends and told them they'd see them tomorrow, and then the three lads and their parents walked out the front door.
The Fritzer's and Turner's were still talking, but now the two families were talking together. As they talked, there were some laughs coming from the group and that sounded good to Mr. Ken and his 'boys'. Charles decided to go over and ask if David was going to go home with him and his 'brothers'. Charles told David's parents that he was looking forward to this sleepover as much as David was and those men were now under arrest and wouldn't be able to cause any trouble for them. The pre-teen also added that they'd be safe at The Cove with the security guards there.
Mr. Ken and the rest of the Cover lads walled over to talk to the Fritzer's and Ms. Judy. The man asked the parents what they had decided as he needed to get his 'boys' home, and to bed, soon. He also told them he would like to take their overnight guests home with him and his 'boys'. David agreed with Mr. Ken and again asked his parents to let him go back to The Cove with his friend.
It was when Kyle looked over at the TV in the room and seeing what he saw on the screen he told everyone to look. He told them the TV people must be right outside as they stopped Josh, Gordon and Cody to talk to them. Dan went over to turn the volume up, so they all could listen to what was being said.
"Boys," said the reporter, "can I talk to you for a few moments?"
Josh, Gordon and Cody, with their parents close behind, walked over to the reporter.
"Boys, we saw you come out of the Sheriff's Headquarters, so you must have been involved with the incident tonight where the police arrested four men. We saw the Sheriff's Deputies taking a number of boys away and I was wondering if you were some of those lads. So, boys, if you were part of that group, can you tell us what involvement you had in tonight's incident and what you told the deputies? Can you tell the viewing public what you saw tonight?" got out the female reporter.
The three lads looked at one another and it was Cody who looked at the reporter and said, "We were on the block, you know, where it looked like the police arrested some men. We were close by when it all happened, so they brought all of us over here to tell them what we saw. All we could tell them was we saw this large van that seemed to come out of nowhere. It appeared to stop right in front of a bunch of boys and before we knew it the police were all over them." The boys and their parents then walked away.
"Way to go, Cody," the group all heard Mr. Ken mumble.
"'Dad', I'm tired. Can we go home?" said Kyle.
"Yeah, I'm really tired, too, 'dad'," offered Kevin.
Mr. Ken looked at Robert and Charles and he could tell they were both ready to collapse from being tired, as well. Mr. Ken looked at the parents and then looked to Eric and then David and asked if they were going home with him. The boys looked at their parents one more time with hopeful eyes.
Judy Turner followed Ken Thomas back to The Cove. She was bringing Eric and Robert since Mr. Ken could only carry four passengers in his truck. The lads all exited the vehicles and thanked Ms. Judy for helping bring them there. The six lads all walked into the home and were greeted by Chief who was wagging her tail furiously. The boys then headed up to the bedrooms.
Ken thanked Judy for talking to the Fritzer's to allow David to spend the night. He also thanked her for letting Eric to stay as well. Judy said she knew there had to be more behind what happened tonight and she asked if she could come over and talk to him tomorrow. Ken told her to sleep in and then come over. The two shared a friendly hug and Ms. Judy got back into her car and drove off.
When Mr. Ken came into the house, through the garage, he thought he heard the boys coming down the stairs as they were talking very loud. He walked to the Foyer and hearing the boys down in the Great Room he just caught them going into the pool area. He quickly followed.
"I thought you were all tired?" laughed 'dad' Ken.
"We were 'dad', but that fresh air woke us up and you know we like to swim at night when we have friends over. Will you join us?" spoke Kevin.
Mr. Ken just shook his head and said he would. The boys, with the exception of Kyle, were already in their swimsuits, so he told them he'd be right back. The lads jumped into the water and began to have fun. When Mr. Ken came back they ganged up on him when he got into the water. The seven people had a good time swimming. The lads played some of the games they could while Mr. Ken watched and refereed. They all jumped off the rock and did some races but by 12:30 the lads were really tired.
'Dad' Ken sent the boys to change and said he'd meet them in the Kitchen Nook for a quick snack. They all met in less than ten minutes and Mr. Ken got out some cupcakes and cold milk for the boys to snack on. Everyone in the house was in bed by 1 AM.
Robert and Eric didn't go right to sleep. The two Best Friends shared the same bed and each other's company before their tiredness got the best of them and they did, finally, fall asleep.
Kevin and Kyle also slept in the same bed. Tonight was a scary night for them both and they needed the comfort of each other. They didn't go right to sleep, either. Kevin apologized to his twin for doing what he did with their dad and bringing Julian to their new home. Kyle said he forgave his twin and asked Kevin to try to be the twin he used to know.
Kyle asked Kevin to start enjoying what they had at The Cove with 'Dad Ken' and when they got back to being with mom again they needed to be best friends again. Kevin hugged his twin close and told him he would need his help. The twins fell asleep hugging one another.
Charles and David also talked before going to sleep. David asked his friend, "Do you think the men were actually after the twins, or were they, you know, after us, too?"
Charles told David, "I really don't know what the men, who came towards us, were after. I'd say they definitely were after the twins as they were the first ones taken. It could be that maybe they couldn't tell who was who because we all had masks or face paint on and they came after us because we both were the same height. David, I wish I knew why they came towards us. ... But did you see how fast the lieutenant and the sergeant reacted? Sheesh, they had those men on the ground as soon as they approached us."
"Yeah, they did take those men down fast," agreed David. ... "Charles ... were ... were you scared? I know I was!"
"David, I was more scared when Smokey had that knife at my throat and threatened to kill me if the deputies didn't let him get away," replied Charles. Then it hit the pre-teen. He had just revealed something he wanted to keep private, very private. Immediately Charles started to cry, hard.
"Charles, why are you crying? And who is this Smokey guy and when did he hold a knife to your throat? Charles ... please stop crying, please. Come on Charles ... it can't be all that bad!" called out David, as he tried to calm his friend down.
It took Charles a few minutes to calm down some. When the Cover lad did, he asked David, "Can ... can I wait until the morning for me to tell you about what I said. It is something I've never talked to anyone about, and ... and I am too tired to talk it out right now," explained Charles, with tears still streaming down his cheeks.
David heard what Charles just told him and he knew it was very serious. He told his friend he understood and he hoped he didn't let what he just told him keep him from getting a good night's sleep. David then hugged Charles. The two then got under the covers in separate beds. Charles cried until he fell asleep.
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