Updated 12/09/2007 11:54 PM
Jaliek's respite family speaks out
ALTAMONT, N.Y. -- "I believe that Stephen knows where Jaliek is. I believe he harmed Jaliek. I don't think he meant to. I don't think he planned to. I think he got very angry,” said Elaine Person.
Some of the last people to see Jaliek Rainwalker, 12, before he disappeared were Elaine and Tom Person. After Jaliek made threatening remarks to a young child at home his adoptive parents Stephen Kerr and Joceyln McDonald, sent him to stay with the Person's for six days. When adoptive parents have needed help, the Persons provide a respite home. For the first time, they're talking publicly about what they think happened to Jaliek.
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"One of the things Jaliek said, in talking about his father, he said when he got mad, he (Stephen) didn't know what he was doing,” said Person.
The Person's acknowledged Jaliek's psychological issues and violent outbursts, but they say they fell in love with him when they met him five years ago.
"He was beautiful, sweet, charming and intelligent and while he was with us, he was very well behaved,” said Person.
"He was great with me. He appreciated everything, like driving in the front seat and I even let him have controls of the music. Boy was he happy. He loved music,” said Tom Person.
Steven Kerr was in Albany last weekend posting a reward for Jaliek, saying he thought it was possible Jaliek ran away with some older teenagers. The Persons say they do not believe Jaliek is with an Albany gang. They also say they don't believe he would commit suicide because he was looking forward to staying with them again and that on the next visit Tom was going to bring Jaliek to look at skateboards.
"How can a child I haven't seen for five years, I say to myself, I've had him six days. Just how come it hurts so much? It really bothers me. It was just six days I spent. I hadn't seen him in five years and he reached me. This was a special kid,” said Person.