“I have reason to believe that my 16-year-old daughter, Amanda, has run off with her gypsy boyfriend,” says Linda. “Before this guy came into the picture, we didn’t have any problems with Amanda. She was an all-American girl. She was in Girl Scouts. She did a lot with her family. She had a lot of friends.”
Linda says that Amanda’s behavior changed about two years ago, when she met her boyfriend, George. Around that time, she was put on probation for swearing at her school’s prinicipal. “All of the sudden she had no friends anymore. She didn’t want to do anything but spend time with the boyfriend. It’s like she wasn’t allowed to be with her friends. She was with him and that was it.”
“When I first met Amanda’s boyfriend,” she continues, “I was not impressed. His attitude, it was very cocky.”
Linda’s husband, Paul, agrees. “She met him and all her morals had gone out the window. He was very arrogant, no educational background.”
Amanda would call her parents wanting to sleep over at her boyfriend’s house. “Our answer was always, ‘No,'” says Linda.
Linda continues, “Amanda’s boyfriend and his family are gypsies. They live in a compound-type setting. They’re called asphalt gypsies because they travel hot topping driveways and stuff, basically getting as much cash out of people as they can.
“The very first time I met the boyfriend’s mother she said to me, ‘Everybody thinks we’re gypsy scum, but we’re not gypsy scum.’ And I was just, like, whoa! I don’t want my daughter known as gypsy scum.”
August 19 Amanda called her parents and asked to be picked up from her boyfriend’s house. When Linda and Paul arrived, they got into a confrontation with George’s mother. Linda says, “She started yelling at me, telling me that I don’t care about my daughter, I’m not a good mother.” Afterward, Linda forbade her daughter to see her boyfriend anymore. “Amanda was not happy at all. She said that she hated me, that she didn’t want to be here.”
When Linda woke up on the morning of September 24, Amanda was gone. She called the police and sent them to pick her up at her boyfriend’s, but when they arrived, she wasn’t there. “I was in shock,” says Linda. “Who would take somebody else’s child? The police told me that there was no sign of kidnapping. They were limited in what they could do because she left willingly.”
“Growing up we’ve had a very close family.” says Linda. “This Christmas was the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. It’s just a terrible void in my life, and I won’t feel whole again until I have her back.”
Paul says, “The week after Amanda left, I was very stressed out. I moved out of the house.”
“Unfortunately, Amanda’s dad did not play as active a role in finding Amanda as I would have liked. I went it alone,” says Linda.
“My search for Amanda does consume me,” she continues. “I feel as though she’s brainwashed. I feel as though she’s almost in a cult-like situation. My biggest fear is really that I’ll never see my daughter again. I look out the window, hoping she’s going to come up the driveway.”
“I do feel like I have lost Amanda. I just hope she comes back,” says Paul.
“My children are the most important thing to me. I will not rest until I have my daughter,” Linda adds.
Dr. Phil asks Paul and Linda, “You guys agree that Amanda was very much a mainstream child right? As far as being involved in school and that sort of thing.” Both parents answer in the affirmative.
Turning to Linda, Dr. Phil says, “And you say you think she has been virtually brainwashed.”
“I do,” Linda confirms.
“And you say that this is a gypsy family? Now, I think most of us probably don’t know what that means, and their kids don’t go to school?” asks Dr. Phil.
“No,” Linda replies. “If they attend school at all, they drop out of school at an early age and they work. George, when he was 14, was working with his father and his brother paving. That’s what they did all day long. They did not attend school.”