Behind the Headlines: Dawn and Chad

A Parent's Worst Nightmare

Brittanee's father, Chad, sits down with Dr. Phil in his studio. The teen's mother, Dawn, joins the show via satellite from South Carolina, where her daughter was last seen.

"As a parent, I'm glad to meet you, but I am so, so very sorry for the circumstance," Dr. Phil consoles Dawn. "Do you have a theory about what has happened or where Brittanee might be?"

"It seems to me someone took Brittanee. Either she got in the car willingly " she may have met somebody here that maybe she trusted, that she was hanging out with since that Wednesday when she had come down to South Carolina," she replies, "or she went unwillingly into a vehicle."


[AD]"What do you think has happened here?" Dr. Phil asks Chad.

"I don't feel that Brittanee got hurt. I just have a gut feeling as her dad that she's run somewhere," he answers.

"You think she's hiding or something?"

"More of me believes that," Chad replies. He explains why he thinks his child could be on the run. "The history of raising my daughter, the choices that I believe she made with going down there without my consent and my ex-wife's consent. I just believe she's not going to make the choice to jump in any car with a stranger. That's not how I raised her."

Dr. Phil turns to Dawn. "You don't believe she's run away. Is that right?" he asks.

"No, I don't believe she's run away," she answers. "First of all, she wouldn't leave all her clothes. She has all her clothes back at the hotel that I'm staying at. I have her flat iron. Brittanee does not go anywhere unless her hair and makeup are done. Her cell phone, she's on that cell phone 24 hours a day. She's just literally texting … Everything doesn't match up."

[AD]"What do you say to Dawn's observation that she wouldn't have left her clothes, wouldn't be off of her cell phone, wouldn't have gone silent?" Dr. Phil asks Chad.

"My daughter's always been a very resourceful person. She's always been a very strong-minded person. With my background in the military, I've always raised her to be a leader, not a follower. It's not like her to leave all of that stuff. I agree with my ex-wife on that," Chad answers. "It's very likely that if she is running, because of the events that led up to the day before she left, then that's what she's doing. It's not a hopeful thing for myself, because I don't want my daughter found somewhere."

Dr. Phil notes that Dawn had forbidden her daughter to attend spring fling in Myrtle Beach. The mom explains her decision. "She was having 17-year-old, teenager issues, and we didn't feel, at this time, that it was OK for her to go, especially since we didn't know these kids," she says.

 

Dr. Phil turns to Chad. "Did you know she was there at all?" he inquires.

"Not at all," Chad replies.

"Where did you think she was?"

"At home with my ex-wife." [AD]

"We didn't find out that she was there until Saturday evening, when I got a phone call from John Grieco, which is her boyfriend, stating that she was in South Carolina and that they couldn't find her," Dawn chimes in.


"What are you going through, minute to minute, right now?" Dr. Phil probes.

"This is a parent's worst nightmare. There are people out there who are crazy. You don't know what they're going to do. It's very emotionally draining. I'm very tired. I haven't gotten a lot of sleep. I haven't been eating," she answers. "We just want to find Brittanee. Our focus is on Brittanee. I want to find my baby."

"If she's run away, and if she's watching this show right now, what would you say to her to let her know it's OK to come home?" Dr. Phil asks Chad.

Chad directs his plea to his missing daughter. "Baby, your brother and your sister and your mother and I just need you home. Whatever the past has brought on to you, we can work on things," he says, facing the camera. He turns to Dr. Phil. "She's not going to be in trouble, if she's scared about being in trouble. I was always a disciplinarian with her. If that's what she did, she needs help, and I'd be the first to be there for her to get help." [AD]

"Dawn, if someone does have her, if someone has taken her against her will, what do you say to them?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Please give us back our daughter. We have so many people who love Brittanee. Her brother and sister miss her dearly," she says, her voice strained. "Brittanee may be scared. I don't know what they may have done, if someone does have her. It's very difficult. If they've drugged her " anything. About her eating, clothes " there's so much. I want them to return her home. She's ours, and we need her."