John and his daughter, Kindra, remember when Kimberly disappeared:
"Back in October of '96, my son-in-law told me that my daughter, Kimberly, walked to the nearby gas station to get a pack of cigarettes, and she disappeared," remembers John.
"Kimmy and I were super close. She was a great sister," says Kimmy's half-sister, Kindra. "I had a choir concert, and Kimmy was supposed to be there that night. When Kimmy first didn't show up to the concert, we knew something was wrong immediately."
"The day before Kimmy's disappearance, she told her immediate supervisor that her husband, Mike, had threatened her, and if she was so much as 10 minutes late for work, to call the police because she feared for her life," John says. "I was certain of foul play then. Social Services figured Mike to be a fit father, and the children left with him and vanished for eight years. I lost track of my granddaughters, didn't hear a word from them or know where they lived. I had no contact."
"When Mike disappeared with the girls, I think the whole family was just stunned," Kindra says. "We couldn't believe it, because why would he run with the girls?"
[AD]"I haven't seen my granddaughters for three years now. I would love to have a lot of time with my granddaughters, and I'm hoping that sooner than later they'll want to get to know me. I spoke with my oldest granddaughter briefly on my cell phone, and I told her about going to the Dr. Phil show," John says, as he struggles to hold back his emotions. "And for a minute " a minute " I heard something that I've wanted to hear. She was happy. She wanted to talk to me, and she wanted to see me, and I want to hear that again. I want to see her."
After Mike took his daughters and moved away, leaving no contact information behind, he met another young woman named Becky, then 18. She never knew Kimberly and was a teenager herself when she stepped in and became the one the girls called Mom.
"I first met Mike about a year and a half after Kimmy disappeared. Mike had two daughters, Nekka and Marissa. They were 3 and 2," Becky remembers. "I didn't know very much about Kim's disappearance. I just knew she disappeared. No details or anything. The girls talked about their mom sometimes. They just knew that she was missing. They didn't remember anything."
"Mike had convinced my granddaughters that their mother ran away years ago," John says. "Looking back, I wished I had just fought harder for my grandchildren."
"From the moment that I met the girls, they had no contact with their grandfather, John," Becky says. "I was there for everything. When they were crying and when they would get hurt, I was there. They were so accepting of me. I was happy to be their mother. The relationship between Mike and I was difficult. Mike was pretty controlling with me. He did want me all to himself. He separated me from my family. He pretty much knew everything that I did. About six years into the relationship, Mike and I had a little boy named Degan. It was a happy time, I thought."
[AD]Becky continues. "Our relationship became pretty violent. There were a few times when he choked me, and he would slam me down to the ground backward. A few times I was holding the baby. He would just snap. I finally decided to leave Mike. I wasn't able to take the girls because he told me that they weren't mine. It hurt them. They missed their brother a lot. It broke my heart when I had to leave them," she says.
Although Becky knew Mike was abusive, she had no idea what was about to unfold.
"While Mike and I were separated, I went to go pick up Degan from Mike's apartment. The girls were in school at this time. When I went into the apartment, Mike shut the door behind me and locked it. And he pulled out a buck knife, and he said, â€˜You should've never left me, because now I'm going to have to kill the baby. Now I'm going to hurt you. I'm going to take him from you like you took him from me,'" Becky tearfully remembers. "I just tried to stay as calm as I could, because I didn't want the baby to know. I didn't want him to be afraid. I was so scared for my little boy. I was so worried. The girls had come home, and he's like, â€˜You better not tell them what I told you I'm going to do.'
"He wouldn't let us out of his sight. He actually took a shower that night and made us stand in the shower with him, so he would know where we were the whole time. By the end of the night, he tied my feet so I couldn't leave. Finally, after everything, he fell asleep. The baby fell asleep. Degan was in between us. And I just laid there, like, what am I going to do?
"In the morning, I convinced him that my family is going to know, if I don't come around, that something is wrong. I said I'd be back in, like, an hour. And he would joke. He would say, â€˜Do you want to take the baby?' And I would say, â€˜Yeah, of course,' and he would laugh and say, â€˜No, you can't.'" Becky struggles with her emotions as she says, "I picked Degan up, and I just quickly kissed him, and I said goodbye, and I left.
"I knew that I had to tell somebody," she says. "That was the whole reason I left. I had to tell someone and get someone over there to get my son out. So, I went to my aunt's. At the time, she worked with the sheriff's office, and she knew people, so I told her what happened, and she called one of the investigators that she knew, and the police showed up to the house within 20 minutes. He saw them coming. He got the kids, and he left the apartment. He had all three of them with him.
[AD]"I got a call, and it was Mike. He just kept saying, â€˜Why did you tell them? Look what you made me do. Now I have to do it,'" she says.