Updated 12/07/2007 07:47 AM
Jaliek's father speaks out
GREENWICH, N.Y. -- Stephen Kerr said, "My wife and I took in a child who was mentally ill in foster care, who was thrown away by the State of New York, by the citizens of New York, and we chose to try to care for him and we're doing the best we can."
Jaliek Rainwalker's adoptive parents say they believe he's still alive. And while police comb Washington County looking for any signs of his whereabouts, Jaliek's parents have put up a reward and are focusing their search efforts on the Albany area. They say Jaliek got caught up in a street gang. Stephen Kerr, who in recent weeks had been tightlipped with the media, has opened up.
"I was not involved in his disappearance," he said. "I have nothing to hide."
Kerr also said while the police haven't ruled out foul play or even suicide, he and his wife remain hopeful.
"Every person we've talked to outside of the police believe that he's alive," said Kerr.
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But police say search dogs are still showing an interest in an area near the Battenkill Country Club so they're searching a dam on the Battenkill River.
Greenwich-Cambridge Police Chief George Bell said, "Now we have the perfect opportunity to look at this area here, if there was evidence, or a human body or whatever, it could get caught up in these dam sites."
Project Engineer Erik Bergman said, "You find anything that is naturally in the river plus anything that anybody throws in the river. You name it, we've dug it up or found it."
That is, everything except human remains or a body. Police said they aren't trying to undermine Jaliek's parents' efforts to find the boy alive, but it's their job to look wherever they can. That means they can't rule out any possibilities.
Bell said, "We're here to find Jaliek. I haven't ruled out foul play. I haven't ruled out a runaway child. I haven't ruled away a suicide. Every avenue has to be investigated."
As they continue to investigate, however, they admit they're concerned that at some point they'll have to stop looking. Until then, they're still asking for anyone who may have any information to contact them.