The Hunt for Amanda: The Search

 

It's day one of Harold's search for Amanda. "What happens is you have to start with the family," he says.

He arrives at Linda's house, and she greets him at the door. Sitting at her kitchen table, Harold asks Linda for the photograph from her collection that looks most like Amanda now. Linda offers him one of her daughter with her boyfriend, George.


"It still looks like her," she says. "She hasn't changed much."

Next, Linda makes a call to track down George's cell phone number. Once she's got the number, Harold goes to work.

He says into his own phone, "I need to give you a cell phone number, and I need this thing broken ASAP." On his way out of Linda's home, Harold tells her to call him if anything happens.

Harold follows the Salisbury Police by car to the compound where George was staying in a trailer with Amanda. Driving through the property, he observes a trailer and a red truck nearby. He speculates that the back house is where the family lives. "There are more houses and more trucks in there than we realized," he says.

Later, he meets with Officer Jewitt who has been working Amanda's case.

"Her mom, she's expressed to me she thinks that Amanda could have gone to Florida with, as she calls, 'the gypsies,'" says Officer Jewitt. "I think up until probably the week before Christmas I still had sightings of her in this area."

Back on the road again, Harold says, "I called my office and I asked them to give me the information to break the

telephone numbers from where Amanda has called. Turns out it wasn't a cell phone. It's someone's home number, and I can go sit on that apartment and hopefully find Amanda."

The apartment building is large and made of brick, with a broad picture window facing the street. A member of Harold's team declares, "That's her in the window. That's the girl."

Harold jumps on the phone, calls his contact at the police department and gives his location. "There's a young girl in that apartment, thin, hair in a ponytail pulled back, at least one, maybe two young males in there, and I saw just enough of her to tell you, there's a 50 percent chance it could be our girl," as he speaks, the lights in the window go out.

The police arrive and knock at the front door. "Hello, police!" says a uniformed officer. When no one answers, he walks the circumference of the property. Soon he's able to see that whoever was inside has gone out the back door.

Day two, as it turns out, is a travel day for Harold. He explains, "We received information from very reliable sources that Amanda has gone to the Orlando, Florida area. We're having to proceed there immediately." Upon arriving in Orlando, Harold returns a telephone call to the Salisbury police department. "OK, great. I can't wait for the call," he says. "Thank you, sir." Hanging up, he is clearly elated. "We got some good information. We'll have an address tomorrow morning between 8:00 and 8:30."


Day three finds Harold working the phone again, this time to extract the address of a hotel where Amanda is believed to be staying in Sarasota. He has their room number and expects the drive there will take up to three-and-a-half hours. Meanwhile, one of Harold's contacts, another ex-agent, will head over to the location to handle
surveillance until Harold can get there. From the road, Harold tells his contact, "Let's consider this one a fugitive, so watch the room. We're 90 miles away." But they arrive too late, and Amanda has left the hotel. Fortunately, Harold's surveillance team still has her in their sights.

"They're getting into a jeep and moving," the contact tells Harold by phone.

"I think I'm about six blocks away," says Harold. "They're heading toward me? I see the Jeep Liberty now. I'm on the Jeep. If they're going to make a turn into this place, I'm going to turn in with them. You come in on the other side, OK? She's definitely in the car. There are only two females in the car and she's the passenger."


Harold pinpoints Amanda in the parking lot as she walks toward a nail salon. "There they are. She's in the green. That's her right there."

Soon, a uniformed officer arrives and tells his partner to cover the back of the building while he and Harold go in through the front. The plan is for the police to extract Amanda from the nail salon and eventually to release her into Harold's custody.

Inside the salon, Harold and the officer approach the two girls. Harold points out Amanda to the officer and shows him a photo for comparison.

"Excuse me?" Amanda says. "What is going on here?"

"You've been reported as a runaway," the officer tells her, holding her arm.

"Why do you grab a hold of me? Please let me go!" Amanda says sternly. The officer begins to explain that if Amanda doesn't cooperate she'll be arrested. "Please let me go," she repeats.

As the officer walks Amanda out, he asks if she has any weapons on her. They join another officer at the squad car, and he guides Amanda into the vehicle.

"Will you let go of me? Please! Just let go!" she commands.

Harold says, "Well, we got her. She's going to be difficult to transport. She's got a major attitude."


Inside the car, Amanda holds her hands in front of her face. "Why is there a bunch of cameras?" she asks.

"Your momma called the Dr. Phil show, Amanda, to help locate you," says Harold.

An officer holding Amanda's cell phone says, "This is the boyfriend."

Through the cell phone, George says, "Tell her I love her, please? And could I hear that back from her, please?"

"I love you," Amanda is forced to shout from inside the squad car.

"I love you too, babe," George replies. "I'll talk to you after."

Back on the set, Dr. Phil lauds Harold's ability to find in three days, a runaway who had been missing for months. "Damn good job," Dr. Phil tells him.

Dr. Phil then turns to Linda and Paul. "What did it mean to y'all to hear that she had been found?"


"A lot of relief," Paul says.

"Yeah," Linda adds, "I was relieved. I was excited. It was just a rush of feelings like you wouldn't believe, just to know that she was safe and found."

"We saw her attitude on camera. How did she deal with you?" Dr. Phil asks Harold.

"Oh well, I'm not her best friend. I don't think I'll ever be on her Christmas card list," he replies.

"I suspect that's right," says Dr. Phil.