Jaliek Rainwalker's disappearance hits 10-year mark

November 01, 2017 03:04 PM

TROY – It’s been 10 years since a 12-year old boy from Washington County was last seen. Jaliek Rainwalker disappeared November 1, 2007. His adoptive father, Stephen Kerr, said Jaliek left a goodbye note.

It went from a small town investigation to the New York State Police opening a file to police cadets locking arms and walking through a field just days after Rainwalker was reported missing. A few months later, Kerr moved his family – including four other children – to Vermont and cut off all communication with his wife’s mother, Barbara Reeley.

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Reeley says that in the past decade, she’s called the house four times, twice to let her daughter know that her grandmother was ill and then had died. Reeley has been threatened with a stalking charge.

In December 2012, police reclassified the case as a probable homicide. Reeley and her husband Dennis Smith feel that Kerr knows more about Jaliek’s disappearance than he will ever let on.

"Much more important about someone being tried for this is to find Jaliek and put him to rest,” Reeley told NewsChannel-13 from her ceramics studio at an industrial park in South Troy. “The thought that I may have passed his body a thousand times traveling or not searched in a site because it seems that it's not an important place. I mean just to think that I may have driven by where his body is laying out in a field or something."

WEB EXTRA: Full interview with Jaliek's grandmother, Barbara Reeley, not seen on TV

“Today's a hard day,” said Smith. “To think that he ran away because he was mad at the homefront and never made any contact with Barbara, they were so close, it's just not feasible. It's just not fathomable.”

WEB EXTRA: Full interview with Jaliek's grandfather, Dennis Smith, not seen on TV

On this tenth anniversary, Reeley wrote an essay about her and Jaliek in hopes that it will spark a memory of someone who reads it:

Ten Years Later ~ The Search for Jaliek Rainwalker written by Barbara Reeley

That a child is missing for one day and night is agony.  To endure ten years of not knowing where Jaliek is has been unbearable.

Jaliek disappeared on November 1, 2007.  He would be 22 years old if he hadn't disappeared ten years ago today.  Ten years he has missed living, of having experiences and adventures.  The memories he'd have are also missing.

For those of us who care about Jaliek what we don't know is what he experienced and endured the evening of November 1, 2007.  Not knowing these details leads to many thoughts that whirl through our minds.  These thoughts are frightening drawing us to even darker thoughts and nightmares.  What we do have is our memories of Jaliek as a bright and caring boy.  His childhood had a rocky and traumatic start and an unresolved end.  In between I have a little over five years of almost exclusively happy memories.

There were many local day trips.  We went apple picking to a local orchard, spent afternoons at Funplex Funpark, ate ice cream at Moxies, loved the pizza at Kay's Pizza and had a summer and a winter "Granny Camp" each year.  Jaliek and I flew to Orlando for his "Double Digit" birthday trip.  When Jaliek had his 10th birthday he got to choose a four day trip anywhere.  Jaliek chose Sea World in Orlando.  We had a super time on this trip seeing the shows at Sea World and visiting with cousins.  We flew back to Albany at night and as we flew over New York City we saw the Statue of Liberty and a full moon at the same time.  Jaliek was in the window seat of the airplane and said he'd never forget our trip and flying "over the moon".

Memories are what I hold onto.  At our last Granny Camp in August 2007 I asked Jaliek whether he'd like to live in a large city or out in the country when he grew up.  Jaliek's answer was that he'd live wherever his wife wanted to live because he'd love her and their children so much he'd be happy living anywhere.  Jaliek had plans for his future.  He wanted to go to school, work and have a family.  Jaliek's mood was generally cheerful though at times he would get quiet and moody when talking about his earliest memories.  His interest in music, tarot cards, animals and computer and other games bring me the fondest memories.

Jaliek was 5'6" tall and weighed 105 pounds when he was 12 years old.  He was tall and very slender.  I can still feel Jaliek's hugs and the way he would rest his head on my shoulder.

I am certain Jaliek did not run away but rather that he was a victim of foul play.

Jaliek's disappearance brought life up short.  The search and investigation goes on.  One day the final pieces will be found to this heartbreaking puzzle.  Until that time the sense of loss hurts and is deeply felt.  Many times I have put out a plea to anyone and everyone to please call law enforcement and/or me with any information or details about Jaliek's disappearance.  If you can, please help in the search and investigaton to find Jaliek.

Jaliek is thought of each day with love, joy . . . and sorrow.  One day there will be Justice for Jaliek.


WNYT Staff

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