Andrew Mosier, Missing Houston Boy, Found in Michigan with Fugitive Uncle (UPDATED)
Andrew Mosier, a boy who disappeared from his Houston home in August 2010, has been found in Jackson, Michigan, with his uncle -- a fugitive facing a felony charge for previously taking Andrew from his home.
Erin Powers, a spokesman for Andrew's father, Dennis, told us the good news this morning. Dennis long suspected that Andrew's uncle, Douglas Lazell, had taken Andrew from his West University home, and that his ex-wife, Carol, had known about it. (Carol and Douglas Lazell moved to Colorado in 2008; Douglas Lazell violated a court order by taking Andrew to Colorado in June 2010. Andrew was returned a few days later.)
Carol has always denied knowing where her son is, but, according to an e-mail from Powers, "Contrary to her recent deposition testimony, Andrew's mother secretly visited him in Michigan two weeks ago." Powers also told us that "a police officer in Jackson, Michigan...checking license plates at a Motel 6 broke the case."
Dennis Mosier is "going to Michigan to recover Andrew as soon as possible today and working with authorities to get Andrew into medical treatment after 15 months of abduction," according to Powers.
We're glad Andrew has been found, although now there are even more questions to be asked. We'll be updating accordingly.
Laura Dale, the Houston attorney who's been integral in helping Dennis Mosier during his 15-month search for Andrew, tells us that Douglas Lazell has been arrested in Michigan on his outstanding felony charge of unlawful restraint and will likely face additional charges.
She expects Lazell to be extradited to Harris County soon. "I'm sure Michigan is anxious to get rid of him and get him to Texas," she says.
Since Lazell is unemployed and has little, if any, money of his own, it appears that "somebody has been assisting him," Dale says. (Andrew's mother admitted in a recent deposition that her mother, Hazel Godhelp, wrote at least one check to Lazell two to three months after Andrew disappeared).
The next step is for Andrew to undergo psychological and psychiatric evaluation, since "We don't know what he's been told, where he's been, what he's been doing -- we have no idea," Dale said.
Although Andrew's mother, and her attorney in Colorado, Michael Canges, have denied her involvement in Andrew's disappearance, Dale reiterated that Carol Lazell "continued to not be actively looking for Andrew...our inference was, she knew exactly where he was and who he was with." She added that Carol's behavior since Andrew's disappearance "kind of speaks louder than words." (We left a message for Canges today, but haven't heard back. The phone numbers that Carol listed in her recent deposition are no longer working.)
Dale, whose background is in high-conflict -- often international -- custody and abduction cases, disagrees with the notion that a child taken by a family member is any less traumatic than an abduction by a stranger.
"When the child is taken by another parent or family member...the left-behind parent does not know where the child is, if the child is in good health...if the child is being educated, fed....Andrew could have been anywhere and not seen again -- that is a frightening prospect for any parent," Dale says. She also points out the added dimension of anxiety in this case, given the tragic accidental drowning death of Andrew's brother, just a year old, in 2001.
We'll have more as the story unfolds.