Finding Alex: Harold Goes to Washington

Finding Alex: Harold Goes to Washington

Dr. Phil sends top-notch private investigator Harold Copus to Washington to search for Alex. "It's Monday afternoon. We're near Tacoma, Washington. Alex is in this area," Harold reports, looking through high-powered binoculars. "Alex is using the name 'Julia.' She claims she's 19 years old."

Harold meets 21-year-old Teresa, who has befriended Alex. He learns some devastating news. "The last time [Teresa] had physically seen her, [Alex's] boyfriend had beaten her up," he says.

"She asked me for a cigarette, and I just small talked, asked her what's going on. She was crying, seemed upset," Teresa reveals. "I probably only saw her about three times. I talk to her on the phone a lot though."

"Will you help us find her?" Harold asks.

"Yes, I will," she replies.

Later that night, Teresa's car is spotted at a Shell gas station with an unsuspecting Alex in the passenger seat. The investigator and his team close in on the women. Harold dashes to Teresa's car and opens the doors, surprising Alex.

"Oh, my God. I don't want to go home, man!" Alex says, covering her mouth in dismay.

"We have to get you over to my car," Harold says firmly.

Her face crumpling in tears, Alex has a major meltdown. "I'm not going! I don't want to go back to my mom. Please!" she cries. "I don't want to go on the Dr. Phil show, man."

"Come with me," Harold reiterates.

"I'm only going to run away again. I don't want to see my mom," Alex says. She bawls as Harold leads her to his car. "This is not fair!"

Back in the studio, Dr. Phil turns to Kim. "What's your reaction to that? She's obviously upset, says, ‘I don't want to go back to my mom.' How do you respond to that?"

"It makes me sad and very concerned," Kim replies.

Dr. Phil turns to Harold in the audience. "What was the toughest challenge in finding her?" he asks. 

"She's a young girl. It's easy to disappear; it's hard to find them, and then the second thing was getting somebody to help us out," Harold says. "A lot of these girls were prostitutes that we had to work with, and they were trying to protect everybody."

"You actually had some help from one of those people to locate her because this girl, who was a prostitute, said, ‘She's too good to be out here; she's too nice of a girl,'" Dr. Phil points out. 

"That young girl " who's only 21" without her, we would have never made it," Harold agrees. "She took sympathy because Alex is only 15."

On videotape, Alex reveals what her life was like while living on the streets.

"Who have you been staying with?" Harold asks.


"A friend of mine," Alex replies through tears. "He's my boyfriend, and I've been fine."

"I heard somebody beat you up last week."

"Yeah, they did," Alex answers.

"Who was it?" Harold probes.

"It was this guy. I don't know who it was," Alex says, covering her face with her hands. 

"Why did he beat you up?"

"Because I didn't want to prostitute, and he ******* beat me up!" she yells, her chest heaving.

"How long have you been with this boyfriend?" Harold asks.

"For a week now, two weeks. I like him a lot. He's actually a real nice guy. Now I'm leaving him. It's not fair." She muffles her sobs with a sleeve. "I want to go back to where I was. I'm only going to run away again. For once in my life I've been happy. I'm not happy living at home. At all. I'd rather die instead of see [my mom] again." 

Harold continues his interrogation of the teen. "Any unprotected sex?" he asks.

"Yeah, I have, with my boyfriend," she admits.

"Anybody else?"

"That guy I came up here with," Alex says.

"Did you have unprotected sex with him?"

"Yeah, he made me," Alex responds. "I told him to put a condom on, and he forced me to have sex with him." She confesses that the man who brought her to Seattle wanted her to become a prostitute. "I told him no, and he got mad at me and he slapped me in the face, like, three times."

"How much money were you supposed to bring in?" Harold inquires.

"Fifteen hundred."

"A day? A week?" Harold asks.

"A day. That's how much [Teresa] brings in," Alex divulges.

"And how much were you able to keep of the $1,500?"

"None," she answers. "He would buy me an outfit every once in a while."

Alex runs down a list of the pimp's prices for services rendered: "A hundred for, like, a quickie, $150 for 30 minutes, $200 for 45 minutes, and $250 for an hour," she tells Harold. "I can't be under this pressure of having a pimp, or whatever. I can't do it. I'm not like this. This is not me."

Alex finally comes face to face with Kim, whom she hasn't seen in over a month. After Alex gives her mother a big hug, Dr. Phil says, "Tell me how you're doing right now."


"Good," she replies.

"Are you sorry you're here?" 

Alex shakes her head. "I'm fine," she replies.

"I heard you yelling and screaming in the car, ‘I don't want to go back to the Dr. Phil show, and I don't want to go back to my mother,' and here you are between your mother and Dr. Phil," he jokes. Growing serious, he continues, "You said, ‘Don't take me away from here; this is the happiest I've ever been.' So you've known some guy for two weeks, and you're happier than you've ever been? This isn't the guy who was saying you had to bring in $1,500 a day hooking on the streets. This was another guy."

"Um hum," Alex says.

"Who really cared about you?"

"Um hum."

Dr. Phil doesn't hide his shock. "He cared about you so much that he let some guy beat on you to go on the streets?" he asks.

"I didn't tell him about it," the teen answers.
 

"Did he know where you were while you were out walking the streets? We found you at night in a car with a prostitute," Dr. Phil reminds Alex. "Where did this boyfriend, who cares about you, think that you were?"

"I told him I was going to see a friend real quick," she replies.