The Cover lads knew their 'dad' was going to go up to the Main Gate and give his statement about last night's incident and when they saw him, Bill Jackson and Judy Turner begin to walk up there they wanted to follow and watch.
Ken saw all the lads following behind them, so he turned, stopped and said, "Boys, if you are there the reporters are going to want to talk to you instead of hearing what I have to say. I'd appreciate it if you all waited down here until I came back down. Then, after the reporters leave, you can go get your candy the guards set aside for you."
"Mom," started Eric, "why are you going up there?"
"Eric, Mr. Jackson suggested I make my statement about what happened last night so we can get the reporters off and away from The Cove and they hopefully won't bother me at work tomorrow. Now sit tight and wish me luck," said Ms. Judy, as she hugged her son and then turned to catch up with Ken and Bill.
When the three adults arrived at the Main Gate, the reporters started yelling the questions to Mr. Ken. He ignored them and waited until the three of them were totally outside the gate and it was closed. They went and stood in front of the guard building that had the name of his estate on it.
Bill Jackson held up his hands to get all the newspaper, radio and TV reporters' attention. The man did not say a word until they all had quieted down and he could hear himself think.
"My name is William Jackson and I represent Mr. Thomas here. He is here today to make a statement about what transpired last night. Please hold your questions until he is finished and is ready to take your questions. Mr. Ken," announced Bill Jackson, and Mr. Ken stepped forward.
"I'd like to make a statement about last night's incident where four of my foster sons and their friends were accosted as they Trick-Or-Treated. My foster sons, like many hundreds of local children, were out knocking on doors saying, "Trick-Or-Treat" and hoping they would get handfuls of candy or other treats."
"My two youngest foster sons told me they hadn't been out Trick-or-Treating since they were seven and I agreed to let them go out with my two older foster sons. Three weeks earlier, the twins' dad's friend tried to gain custody of them, but the man didn't have the right release papers and I would not let the boys go with him. The very next day that same man tried to take the twins out of their school and the Sheriff's office was called, deputies were dispatched and the man was arrested."
"Since that man, Julian Hankers, tried twice to gain control of the twins, I wasn't going to take any chances with the boys going out Trick-Or-Treating without some sort of qualified protection. The two security men, known as Mr. Gene and Mr. George to the boys, had worked for me when Collin, my first foster son was being watched by some men, and then when my next two foster sons were also being scrutinized by an outside group. I hired them to chaperone the boys, and their friends, last night, and to take any action they deemed necessary to protect all the boys."
"Since I've lived here, I've always handed out Trick-Or-Treat candy and I didn't want to disappoint the many boys and girls who stopped by my home last night by not being here. Understand, that if I had been out walking with my foster sons, and their friends, there would have been no way that I, alone, could have stopped the four men who were ultimately arrested for attempting to kidnap any of the lads out Trick-Or-Treating."
"Although I had no idea that Julian Hankers, and his friends, would attempt to kidnap any of my foster sons my fortuitous decision to hire Gene and George proved to be a very judicious one."
"I received a phone call from the Sheriff's office telling me that they had a strong suspicion that something could happen, but they had no credible evidence telling them something WOULD happen. I wasn't made aware of their suspicions until about ten minutes before Mr. Hankers and his friends made their move to, at least, what we now know, were to take the twins."
"During that call, I was told what the Sheriff's Deputies had planned. I was told their plan included two plain-clothes detectives who were on their way to be with the boys and my security men for added protection and hopefully a quick apprehension. I was also told they had four police cars just outside the perimeter of where the step van was located and were ready to quickly rush in and capture those men."
"I had wanted to go over to the boys, but I was told not to go there. They told me the boys were almost at the top of the street and if nothing happened by then it was a false alarm. They explained to me that my sudden appearance could possibly alert the men before they took their action and they wanted to catch the men in the act."
"I knew the boys were in good hands with my security men, Gene and George, with them, so I felt even more at ease knowing the Sheriff's Office had sent two well-trained men to help protect all the boys in the group."
"When those four men did finally attempt to abduct some of my foster sons, who again we later learned were the twins, two men were apprehended almost immediately by the Sheriff's men and the other two were immobilized by my security men. The boys have told me that the additional Sheriff's men arrived in mere seconds just as the four abductors were put down on the ground."
"I arrived about five minutes after I was told the men had tried to abduct the twins and the scene was already contained. I went to my foster sons to help settle and calm them down. Eventually, Sheriff Barnes brought the SWAT van there to escort all the boys to their Headquarters to be debriefed and then to be reunited with their parents.
"I want to thank all the men and women of the Sheriff's Department that made last night's apprehension of these four dangerous men a reality. I also want to thank them for their quick thinking in determining a potentially illegal act, formulating a plan, then finishing the job by stopping these four men intent on abducting the twins, for whatever purpose that has yet to be determined."
"As for the boys, they are all relaxing, after their ordeal, with their friends as many of you have seen arrive over the past two hours or so. I want to ask the media to refer all of their questions to the Sheriff's Department. I also want to remind them that the boys are all under their majority and as such will not be available to interview unless the Director of Children's Protective Services allows."
"Now... are there any questions?" finished Mr. Ken.
"Mr. Thomas, why is it that you did not go out with your boys' last night?" asked one reporter.
"As I said, I wanted to be here to meet and greet the boys and girls who come to The Cove for their Trick-Or-Treat candy, as I always have," replied Mr. Ken.
"So, you felt it was more important for you to hand out candy than protect your foster sons?" asked the same reporter.
"So... so now that YOU know what happened last night... you want ME to second guess my actions? Get real!" snarled back Mr. Ken.
"Mr. Thomas... what time did your foster sons go out Trick-Or-Treating, and did they ever check in with you and did they ever indicate to you that they may be in any danger?" asked the second reporter.
"Well, the lads left The Cove at approximately 6:30 to start begging for candy, as I called it." (There were many laughs at that comment.) "They returned around 7:30 to drop off their haul of candy, as it was starting to get heavy, and use the restroom at the guard shack. When they were all ready to go, they left to go out Trick-Or-Treating, again. They told me they'd finished walking the street that fronts The Cove and were going to go to the next street over," finished Mr. Ken, totally ignoring the question about whether or not the boys knew they were in danger.
"Mr. Thomas, why did you tell the reporter, who asked you why you were there last night, that because of all the activity in that direction you decided to walk over to see what happened when, in reality, you were there to comfort and support your foster boys?" another reporter asked.
"Well, you got me there. But understand, I did not have an enormous amount of time to stand there and talk to that reporter when my foster sons expected me to meet them at the Sheriff's Headquarters. I'm sure you would agree that my first priority was the boys and not answer some nosey reporter's questions," answered Mr. Ken.
"Some nosey reporter? Is that how you see us, Mr. Thomas?" asked the same reporter.
Mr. Ken laughed and told the reporter that if the reporter was any good, she would have had a better idea of what was happening and would have asked a more direct question. He continued to tell everyone that all the reporter did was see him walking and wanted to stop him and then afterwards tell everyone she talked to Mr. Thomas at the scene. He then told the reporters that was what he read in the newspaper that morning and that was actually what happened.
The owner of The Cove continued telling the reporter his priority at the time was the boys, not the reporter's need to ask inane questions. The owner of The Cove then asked if there were any important questions and not something to just get your face on TV.
When the reporters and the assembled crowd heard what Mr. Thomas just said about important questions and reporters just want to get their faces on TV, there were loud mumblings. Mr. Ken inwardly smiled knowing he'd touched a nerve and was waiting for someone to either challenge him over it or just ignore it and ask another question.
"Mr. Thomas, why was it that you took in the twins when you already had two other foster lads who were older than they are?" asked a different reporter.
Mr. Ken smiled at them ignoring what he previously said and just pressed on to ask another question. He looked at the reporter and replied, "Their parents were the ones seriously injured in that accident back when school first began. Very few foster parents want to add two more children to their busy households at the same time and especially right when school starts. Adding a foster child to a home can bring about a lot of commotion and additional expenses they knew they wouldn't get immediately reimbursed for."
"I was asked if I had room for two more. Of course, I have the space and the means to make sure these lads were welcomed and given everything they needed in such a short time. None of their clothes were ever recovered from the accident and when they came to me they required a whole new wardrobe on top of all the school supplies they needed, as well."
"As for taking them in when I already had two foster lads that was easy. I felt the older boys could help transition the twins into the household and act as big 'brothers' for them at the same time. The older boys readily accepted the twins as their 'brothers' and went to work making them welcomed and comfortable. When it came time to outfit the twins the older boys knew exactly what the twins would need to wear in order to blend in with their classmates and they helped them pick things out."
"I think all four lads felt good about what was happening as the twins never had a brother and now they had two older 'brothers' to help guide them. The older boys introduced them to their friends and some of their friends had brothers the twin's age, so the lads got to meet kids they would soon be going to school with. I think having older 'brothers', who were also foster kids, helped the twins, who have never been in foster care, integrate into the home. I do believe that since then, everything has worked out very well."
The questions went on for another ten minutes when Mr. Ken said he thought he answered all their questions and felt it was time to get back to his regular Sunday activities.
Judy Turner then stepped up and said she had a statement. The reporters knew who she was, so they waited until she made her speech.
"You all know me and for those who don't I am Judy Turner, the Director of Children's Protective Services. I am always made aware when one of our foster care children, or their foster parents, are involved with something such as the incident of last night. Up until those men approached those children last night, I had no idea that the boys needed to be protected, let alone there was a plan by the Sheriff's Department to stop something immediately after it started."
"I was aware that Julian Hankers had twice tried to gain custody of the twins before last night, but he was initially arrested and subsequently released on bond. The man lives near where the twins used to live, a good two-hour drive away from here, and since no one ever told me that the man was still a menace I had no reason to be concerned for their safety."
"And speaking about safety, I applaud Mr. Thomas for his foresight in hiring a security firm who could chaperone his foster boys while they went out and did the time-honored tradition of Trick-Or-Treating. He wanted his boys to have as much of a good life as possible as their previous home life may not have provided for many wonderful things to happen."
"What many of you do not know is that Mr. Thomas has taken his first and second foster sons on some very extensive trips outside the state of Texas. He's also taken them all on trips within the state and just recently he took his four foster sons and their friends to SeaWorld to experience their Howl-O-Scream. Letting his boys go out Trick-Or-Treating was part of his allowing the boys to experience life and create good memories for their future."
"You all heard how Mr. Thomas was not made aware of there being a potential for anything to happen and was not told about it until about ten minutes before it did. How many of you know when something is going to happen to your kids or family? And how many of you are prepared to deal with the consequences?"
"Mr. Thomas is a man in good standing with CPS. He found a battered and bleeding teenager during that horrendous storm we all remember. He helped tremendously in that young teen's recovery and on top of that he also took a bullet that was meant for that teenager. Since then, Mr. Thomas has gotten a degree in Early Childhood Development and, as such, is well qualified to work with children that come into CPS."
"The Sheriff's Department, I'm sure, will have a much more detailed briefing about all that occurred last night, when they have all the facts and the investigation completed. Maybe you should all be over there to learn more about last night's attempted abduction, what brought it to their attention and how they decided to watch over the boys. In the meantime, be assured that CPS will continue to utilize Mr. Thomas as a potential foster parent as the situation necessitates. I will take one or two questions."
"Do you think it is good to have a single man as a foster parent? Even if he does have the means to provide for them?" asked a female reporter.
"Well, so what you are asking me, if I heard the tone in your voice right, is that ONLY women should be foster parents? Right? I thought with all the equal rights movement many people are out championing for, then shouldn't men have those same rights? Don't you? Or, is it that only when a certain group feels they are being held back that they should be given MORE rights than someone else or group?"
"Mr. Thomas has proven himself as being a good and caring foster parent. He's done a whole lot more than any foster parent has and... and he makes sure the children he fosters have good physical and mental health set up for them as soon as they arrive here at The Cove. I only wish I had more foster parents like him. Next question?" finished Judy Turner.
"Are you going to move the boys who were almost abducted from Mr. Thomas' care, now that you know there are people out there trying to take them?" asked another reporter.
"Ok, let me get this right. You're asking me if I will move these boys because someone might be out to take them thus giving those same people a better chance of doing so, since they wouldn't have all the protections they presently have here at The Cove. I don't think so!"
"Understand, if it weren't for Mr. Ken's caring attitude for his charges, those boys, and maybe a few others may very well have been kidnaped last night. They could have been taken somewhere where we would have no earthly idea of what happened to them. If that happened, no one knows what sorts of things could have been done to them, that no one would want to fathom," answered Judy Turner.
"Well, aren't the boys still vulnerable as they go off to school?" asked the first reporter.
"They are just as vulnerable as every other student going to school. If someone is intent on taking a child, they are going to do so no matter what precautions we put into place. The thing about these two boys is that there is a man who really and truly cares and he will do whatever is necessary to ensure their safety. I am hopeful, though, that the Sheriff and his investigators will be able to round up any other people who might be intent on taking the twins away."
"Thank you for your attention and I think all your other questions should be addressed to the Sheriff's Office as they have a better handle on the who, what, when, where and why of last night's events. Thank you," finished Judy Turner, as she turned to walk back into the estate.
Mr. Ken stayed out with Ms. Judy while she spoke and before he followed her into the estate, he reminded them not to bother his foster sons without his or the Director of CPS' permission. It was then Dan Fischer drove up. The guards let him drive into the estate and then they closed the gate after he went through.
The three adults waited for Dan before they were all back inside the confines of The Cove. Bill said he thought the statements and questions did a lot of good for both Ken and Judy. He told Judy he liked that she put the onus back on the Sheriff's office to answer the pressing questions as to how did they know the kidnapping might take place and by whom.
Dan had no idea what they were talking about so Ken gave him his statement to read. When he was finished, Judy then outlined what she said to the masses. Dan thanked them for getting him up to speed.
"Dan... I thought you'd have been over sooner," chuckled Ken.
"I would have loved to, but... I didn't get away from Headquarters until 3 AM. I had to review my patrol's reports on the incident and arrests and then do my own reports. I was so blurry eyed at 3 AM I had to go home to rest my eyes. After I woke up late this morning I had to go back and check those reports to make sure I didn't mess up because I was so tired. I wish I could have heard your statement's in person, though," explained Dan.
The boys had waited until they saw Mr. Ken, Mr. Bill, Mr. Dan and Ms. Judy walk into the house, through the Foyer door, before they looked to see how many people were still up at the Main Gate. It took the reporters about fifteen minutes to add their on-air take of the statements, to gather up their equipment and leave.
The nine Trick-or-Treaters all hurried in front of their friends to get to their stash of candy hidden inside the guard shack. When the nine got there and asked where their candy was, the guard didn't know what they were talking about. Robert asked if he could go in and see if his stuff was where he put it last night. Robert saw the building was devoid of any candy including what Mr. Ken was passing out last night. Robert thanked the man and the whole group left.
Robert, followed by his three 'brothers', went inside to talk to his 'dad' about what happened to all their candy
Robert knocked on the Study door frame and when he was asked what he needed he said, "'Dad', whatever happened to all our candy we had stored up at the guard shack?"
'Dad' Ken smiled and told the boys that with everything going on with Mr. Bill and Ms. Judy, he forgot the guards brought it all down during the shift change and he had them put it in the coat closet they use for parties. He also told them he had no idea which stash was whose, but it was all candy and they should be able to share it. Robert and his 'brothers' went to the coat closet and opened the door and there they saw nine large bags of candy resting along the wall.
"I guess we should have put our names on them when we stored them last night," spoke up Charles.
"Yeah, but who would have known those men would come after us like they did," said Robert. "Let's just take them all out to Josh, Gordon and Cody and decide which one gets which pile. OK?"
All the lads were surprised at all the candy the Cover lads brought out of the house.
"Did you collect all of that last night?" asked Grant. "Look at all that candy!"
"That was what we dropped off after just one street," offered Josh. "Now whose bag is whose?"
It was Robert who said they didn't know. That the guards brought it all down after the shift change. "'Dad' said he didn't know which bag was whose, and we should just choose and let it go at that."
"You should see all the candy I had when those men came after us," said Gordon. "This is about half of what we all got last night, so I don't care which bag of candy I get. I probably should just leave it here for all of you to eat when you come over."
Robert then told Gordon to pick a bag, any bag. After Gordon picked a bag, then Josh and Cody picked a bag of candy. The Cover lads said it didn't matter to them as they had so much candy in their rooms they bet they'd get sick of it in no time. The lads all laughed at them.
The boys shared the candy and then they went back to talking about the men and how they were neutralized so fast. Josh said that it happened so fast that he was glad they weren't aware of the men watching them until almost the end.
"Wait... you guys knew those men were watching you?" asked Brad.
"Yeah, we already told you about that. Don't you remember we found out when the lieutenant and the sergeant arrived? They told us why they were there and that they thought some men might try to kidnap some of us, but they weren't sure if their information was accurate. They told us to keep walking and stopping at houses and that if the men didn't try something by the top of the street, it was a false alarm," said Josh.
"Is that true, Robert?" immediately asked Brad
Robert quickly said, "Yeah, that's essentially what happened. We were almost to the top when we raced ahead of the security and sheriff's men and those men took their chances and came at us with their headlights on and brakes screeching. It startled me at first, but then I yelled for everyone to run."
"Oh, yeah, now I remember. I guess I just wanted to hear about it again. It sounds so exciting now, but I bet you were all scared shitless at the time," said Brad.
"Not me, Brad, but I almost pissed my pants when that huge van came after us. At least they got us over to police headquarters and we could use their Men's restroom. Phew, I needed to pee and bad," said Cody.
"So, what happened when they got you over to the headquarters? Did they use rubber hoses on you and waterboard you?" laughed Trevor. That got a few of the other lads laughing, too.
"Well after we peed, they took Kevin and Kyle in first to what they called an interview room. I think Bill Jackson went in with Kevin and Mr. Russell went in with Kyle. Cody, you went in the other room, didn't you?" said Robert.
Cody agreed he went in before anyone else. Then Josh and Gordon said they went in even before either of the twins ever came out. Eric said he went in and when he came out, the twins were already out. David said he went in right after Eric and then Robert and Charles said they went in where the twins were interviewed.
"You know what? I was glad I had a lawyer in there with me. He kept them from asking me a lot of questions about my mom and dad," said David. "The lawyer told the man that he could only ask me questions about what happened and unless he could prove my parents were involved he had to keep focused on the attempted kidnapping."
"Hey, you know what? They did ask me a few questions about my mom and dad, too. But I told them I had no mom and dad which was why I was in the foster care system," laughed Charles. "But, I do remember the lawyer telling him to only ask me about the attempted abduction."
Kevin and Kyle kept quiet about what the men asked them about the attempted kidnapping. They were talked to the longest because they both were actually grabbed and almost put into the step van. They had to repeat their story over and over until the men believed them.
Some of the guys asked if they were going to go swimming. Robert said he wasn't in the mood and that he was still kinda tired from all the walking they did last night and the stress of almost being taken away. The teen asked if they could just chill out at the ramps and talk some more. Then Charles jumped in and told their friends that he was sort of tired too. So the gang went back to skating.
As the boys skated they kept stopping by the bags of candy and they would eat some. Most of the lads were having a good time, but the nine lads who were involved in the attempted kidnapping were still bummed out about it. They all sort of stuck together and talked about it some more so they could grasp what almost happened.
It was Kyle who told the other eight that they should all look at it as an experience that the majority of the other kids will never have. Kyle laughed as he said that. He then told them that instead of them looking at it as a negative and moping around feeling sorry about themselves, they should look at it as a positive and feel good that nothing happened.
Kyle continued on and told them, "Hey, look at it this way. The other kids at school are going to want to ask us tons of questions about what happened. We'll be famous... for at least fifteen minutes or until the first bell rings." All the kids laughed, even the ones who stopped over to hear that the Trick-Or-Treaters were talking about.
In the Study, Mr. Ken, Ms. Judy, Mr. Bill and Mr. Dan were talking about the events of the past 15 hours, or so, when the phone rang.
"Three Finger Cove, how may I direct your call?" answered Mr. Ken.
"Oh, hello Joel, I'm here with Bill Jackson, my lawyer, Lt. Fischer and CPS Director Turner. I'm going to put the call on speakerphone. OK?" replied Mr. Ken.
"Hello, Lieutenant and Director and Mr. Jackson," said Joel. "I called Mr. Ken to tell him about Parker Parchsons. Mr. Thomas, we just arrested the man. Last night's attempted kidnapping of his twins made the DA act. Jose Cortez and I will be heading up your way in a few minutes to interview the four men who were involved in the attempted kidnapping last night. We hope they'll talk to us about their involvement with Parker and how the attempted abduction came about."
"I'm sure Lt. Matthias and Sgt. Roberts will have asked those types of questions," spoke up Dan Fischer, Sheriff's Lieutenant.
"Yes, LT, I'm sure they will have, but I want to hear their answers directly. I've talked to Parker on a number of occasions and I might have a different take on the questions," replied Joel Carrier.
"Detective Carrier, I'm Judy Turner, Director of Children's Protective Services. My question for you is... what about the twin's mom? Is she a suspect in the abductions and... and is she a suspect in what her husband was doing with Kevin?" asked Judy.
"Ms. Turner... may I ask what is your involvement with the twins?" asked Joel Carrier.
"Oh, I am responsible for the twins and what will happen to them if both parents are arrested and convicted. I thought you would have understood what the Director of Children's Protective Service is," sarcastically replied Judy Turner.
"Ms. Turner, Director, it isn't often that we would deal directly with the Director of CPS. We usually wind up dealing with some underling who is all too happy to get the kids off their backs," chuckled Detective Carrier.
"Detective... I'll have you know... I personally placed the twins with Mr. Thomas, which makes me not only directly involved but personally involved, as well. Now... please answer my questions about Mrs. Parchsons. Is she a suspect in the attempted abductions of the twins and possibly the other seven boys, and... is she a suspect in what her husband was doing with Kevin and those other men and boys. TWO simple questions, detective. I would like the answers, so I can formulate a plan for the twins continued association with Mr. Thomas and my organization," snapped back Judy Turner, Director of Children's Protective Services.
Ken and Dan inwardly laughed at the way Judy took on Joel Carrier. They both let out a short giggle because they couldn't believe their mild-mannered Ms. Judy took on the detective and almost ripped him a new one.
"Whoa there Ms. Turner. I didn't mean anything by what I said and how I said it. We don't get involved with people at your level of authority, so please accept my apologies if I upset you. Now, as for Mrs. Parchsons. She is NOT a suspect in the attempted abduction of her boys. She rarely had any visitors unlike Mr. Parchsons' continued visitations by the same men over and over."
"As for her involvement in what her husband did with Kevin, well... the jury is still out. Now that we have Mr. Parchsons under arrest we also have a warrant to check his computer and cell phone. We'll see what that gives us in the way of more suspects, etc." answered Joel Carrier.
"Joel," started out Mr. Ken, "remember Kevin told me that his dad kept his computer's password in his cell phone. But, please don't ask me how he categorized it in his Contacts list."
"Yes, I do remember that conversation with you. If we can't find the password, I might want to ask the lad if he could narrow it down some for us, so we can get into his dad's PC," replied the detective.
There were a few more questions that the group at The Cove asked Joel Carrier and he had a few for Lt. Fischer. Just before the phone call was over Detective Carrier said he'd be up there in a couple of hours and if he had time he'd like to talk to Kevin one more time, if there was time. Mr. Ken told him to call before he came over in case it was close to the boy's bedtime.
Dan Fischer then called Brandt Matthias and asked him when the Sheriff's Office was going to hold a news conference to discuss last night's attempted kidnapping. The Detective Lieutenant told his friend Dan that the news conference was scheduled for 6 PM and would probably be televised and he was invited to be there because of his involvement. Dan smiled upon hearing that and he told Brandt he'd be there about 5:30 so they could talk about what was going to be said.
"As you may have garnered from my side of the conversation, there will probably be a televised news conference at 6 PM tonight and I've been invited to be there to answer any questions the press may have. Since I was a part of the initial response, Sheriff Barnes wants me there. I'm glad I got to read and hear what you both had to say, Ken and Judy. That gave me a perspective in my mind as to what happened behind the scenes. I better go and change and get over to Headquarters," said Dan, as he got up and began to walk out of the Study.
Ken followed Dan out of the Study and over to the Foyer entrance. Ken wanted to thank his friend for everything he did last night to protect his 'boys' and get them home safe. Their handshake was firm and their other hand on the shoulder said lots more to their friendship.
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