Elementary Schoolgirl Recognizes Rayon

AMERICA’S MOST WANTED Recovery #39

June 24, 2004

Hope was dwindling that police would find little Rayon Gray, taken by his
non-custodial mother. It had been months since his father had seen the
boy, and every attempt to locate him had come up empty. AMW gave one
final push to find Rayon on May 22, 2004 when the show aired a spot about
the abduction. Investigators had faith, but not much hope that the show
would succeed. Then, moments into the show, 3000 miles away from
Baltimore where Rayon grew up, a little girl was watching AMW with her
mother. When she saw the little boy’s picture as it flashed on the tv
screen, she jumped up. She recognized the boy as the boy in her class at
Barranca Elementary School in Covina, California. Quickly, the girl’s
mother called the AMW tip line. It was the first solid lead the police
had in a long time. They immediately contacted the Riverside Police
Department and gave them the clues they had about Rayon’s case. Riverside
police took the ball from there. They talked with the tipster and pulled
records from the school. Everything seemed to match, all they would have
to do is wait for the youngster to come to school, and they could confirm
if they had the right little boy. Unfortunately, Rayon’s mother was ahead
of the police. Rayon never came back to school, and Riverside police
worried that she knew that they were on her trail. For days they watched
the school and investigated, but it seemed as if she had given them the
slip.

Rayon’s Mother Taken Into Custody

What police did know was that Rayon’s mother, Margarita Peterson was now
disguising herself as a practicing Muslim, wearing a burkha and living in
the Islamic community. Police stayed on the hunt, waiting for Peterson to
slip up, and on June 23rd, she did. That day, police got a call from the
local social services office. It turns out Peterson had made an
appointment to speak to someone about public assistance. Cops had their
woman. On the day of the appointment, Margarita arrived as scheduled. She
did not have Rayon with her. Even so, police took her into custody.
Peterson was taken in for questioning and after much persuasion,
eventually revealed Rayon’s location to police. It was a great day for
police back in Baltimore when they called Rayon’s dad and told him that
his son was found safe and sound. Thanks to the diligent work of the
Riverside Police Department, the Maryland State Police Department, and
AMW Rayon is home with his father. Rayon Gray is the 39th missing child
recovered by America’s Most Wanted.

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