Father's search has a happy ending

9-year-old back in Merriam after abduction

By TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star

After four months of fear and frustration, Robert Todd Jr. is a happy
man. His son is home.

The Merriam man and the 9-year-old boy who was taken from him last
December were reunited Tuesday at the Phoenix airport after authorities
arrested the boy’s mother on a kidnapping charge.

“It was the longest (four) months of my life,” Todd said in an interview
Thursday, patting his son, Evan Snow, on the leg as they sat together in
their living room. “I don’t think I could do it again.”

Todd and Evan’s mother, 29-year-old Jaimy Snow, had a short-lived and
tumultuous relationship, and Todd has had custody since 2000, according
to Wyandotte County court documents.

In 2003, Todd filed for a court order of protection against Snow,
alleging that she had struck Evan and was “verbally abusive.” In court
documents, he described his relationship with Snow as “hateful and angry.”

A judge granted the order, but Todd continued to let her see Evan because
the boy wanted to see his mother.

Todd always was present during the visits. In December when Snow asked
for another meeting, Todd made arrangements for them to get together at a
public park at 26th Street and Gillham Road in Kansas City.

They had been there for about an hour, and Snow said he was talking to
another person at the park when he heard Evan yell, “Daddy!” Todd turned
around and saw a car driving away with his son and Snow in it.

“I couldn’t have been more than 20 feet away” when the boy was snatched
up, he said Thursday. “Another person said they saw a guy grab Evan and
throw him in a car.”

What followed was months of bureaucratic muddle, complicated by the
presence of the state line that had Todd bouncing between police agencies
and courts in two states. “It was like I was in a hole that had no bottom
to it,” Todd said.

Kansas City police couldn’t take action until court custody papers from
Wyandotte County were filed and properly registered in Missouri, Todd was
told.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children told him they
couldn’t do anything until police filed a missing person report.

And Todd didn’t have the money for legal help.

But he persisted, and with the help of Overland Park lawyer Gregory
Bangs, who didn’t ask for any money up front, he was able to get the
paperwork in order.

Kansas City police detective Lynda Hacker also helped get the case to the
attention of the national center, and a flier produced by that group
helped police find Snow and Evan in Arizona.

When Hacker called to give him the news, Todd said, “I was
hyperventilating.”

When Todd arrived in Phoenix, Evan was at the airport with a social
worker, waiting for his father.

Evan called out, “There’s my dad. There’s my dad!” and the two embraced
for the first time since Dec. 4.

“I grabbed him and kissed him and hugged him and kissed him and hugged
him,” Todd said.

Todd said Evan “grew like a weed” while they were apart, and most of the
clothes he had in December don’t fit. Evan didn’t have much to say
Thursday about his time in Arizona, only that he’s glad to be back home
and didn’t want to go back.

But he still wants to be able to see his mother, he said. Todd said he
would not try to prevent visits as long as they are done in a structured
setting.

Todd also said he believes Snow has personal problems and needs to get
help.

“I don’t want to see her go to jail. That would hurt my son,” he said.
“Whatever happens to her, she brought on herself.”

Snow remained jailed Thursday in Arizona on the kidnapping charge that
was filed in Jackson County.

A court hearing is scheduled today in Arizona to determine if she will
fight extradition, Jackson County officials said.

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