As a parent my biggest nightmare is something bad happening to my kids. You see news everyday about kids being kidnapped and gone forever. It’s hard to imagine the grief a parent must feel when their kid vanishes without a trace.
When I was about 19, the Polley Klaas kidnapping happened in Petaluma, California. I, at the time, lived about 15 minutes or so from her house. Our townhouse on Arlen Drive in Rohnert park had a view that could clearly see highway 101. Richard Allen Davis traveled down that highway with Polley held captive. At the time I was young, single, no kids. I happened to do security jobs on the nights and weekends with some friends at the time. We were called to help at the Polley Klaas foundation in Petaluma. The whole country was talking about the kidnapping and the little town of Petaluma was in the midst of a media frenzy. We were asked to just stay at the premises and make sure nothing happened. It was loaded with kids her age. It didn’t really click to me what really happened until I walked across a picture of Polley Klaas. I remember standing in the hallway alone, wearing my bright yellow VIP security jacket when I came across this picture hanging in on the wall.
I suddenly felt deeply saddened for all these kids, Polley’s classmates and friends, and her parents, and any parent who had to deal with this loss. I just stared at the picture and felt sick. At that moment I would have done anything to help Polley.
Alright, flash forward about 20 years later. I’m at my job in Nashville. When I get a call from my wife. She was hysterical and it was hard to understand her. I said what about three times until I finally could get the just of the hysteria. She couldn’t find Bailey. I said “what do you mean you can’t find Bailey?” She had to be there. At the time she was 4 years old. I told her to check the pool, check the garage, look under the bed. . . . She said she already looked everywhere. That day a friend’s kid was over playing. Yasmine and Riley were looking all over the place yelling her name. I told her to call 911. I hung up and felt like I was going to hyperventilate. Shit, I was 45 minutes (if I was lucky) from the house. I didn’t want to face the possibilities, but what if someone had came up our driveway and kidnapped her. I told my boss I had to go, it didn’t sound like my own voice but I said “my daughter is missing”
I jumped in the car and screeched out of their. Every red light felt like an eternity. I was talking to myself, trying to work out where she is and what I could possibly do to help from here. I was going 90 down I-24, weaving through traffic, all the while looking at every car traveling in the opposite direction for her bright pink sundress. If I saw her dress I could whip around and chase the motherfucker down like in the movies.
I got about half way home to Smyrna. My wife had called me back. I had a million questions, where did you see her last? Did anyone come up our driveway? The dogs never barked? Did you look here or there? She was further panicking and yelling her name, which made me further panic. I heard the sheriff arrive. She was on the edge of a breakdown. Explaining that she would never wander off, she’s too scared to just wander off the property.
Suddenly I hear Riley yelling in the background. “I found her!”
Here’s what happened. Riley was over playing and Bailey got mad because they wouldn’t include her. She curled up into the crack of this chair we have, under the pillows, sucked her thumb and passed out. According to her, she never heard everyone yelling her name. But we think she fell asleep and then realized what a big deal it was and was too scared to come out because she may get in trouble.
I turned back onto the interstate and back to work. I was the happiest father on earth.
Below is a picture of the culprit Bailey, and the aforementioned chair she was hiding in.