"This One Hurts…" Dec.• 2009

We have a missing child case here right in my neighborhood. Marc Anthony Bookal – 4 years old. It’s been big news all week, with gaggles of the NYC & local cable TV crews up here. My ‘hood. This one is close to home and is messing with me a little more than probably any child related case has in a long, long time. I’ve worked more than my share of abused, abducted and even murdered children stories in my career. Covered, accidents, funerals and crime scenes for little ones. Stood over countless children while they’ve undergone facial corrective surgery in operating rooms in such far off places as Siberia, Amman, Gaza, Nairobi and even northern Thailand. Joyously played with orphaned & injured children displaced by war and conflict in Kosovo, Albania, Haiti and of course Afghanistan. But for all those past experiences and keeping those demons at bay – if just temporarily, this one hurts.

The facts of the boy’s disappearance on Monday afternoon and background of his mother (left), her live-in boyfriend and biological father aren’t something that I feel a need to explore here in detail. Not at this time. It’s all a mess and the criminal background of the mother’s boyfriend doesn’t look too good or add any credence to their story. It is extremely hard to disregard all those surface elements in such a case. This could be anybody’s family – a little brother, nephew or son. This young mother could easily be anyone’s wife, sister or daughter. Yours. Mine. A neighbor. Like I said, “My ‘hood…”
As of Saturday, December 19th., there haven’t been any big developments in
the case. I regularly stop by the house first thing in the morning and on my way
home. Covered a press conference this afternoon at Newburgh Police HQ
with the Chief of Police, Mayor, etc.

I am keeping my ear to the ground on this one…

Stay tuned. -cg.

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