Kidnapping case from 1993 apparently solved

Stephen Palacios, Jr., turned himself in to authorities in Houston last week.

September 17, 2010 6:56:08 AM PDT
A father on the run for 17 years accused of kidnapping his son has turned up in Houston, along with the boy who's been missing for nearly his entire life. Now that the two have been found, there are new questions about the case. Stephen Palacios is in the Harris County Jail. He's charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, as well as kidnapping. Deputies in Waco, where the case originated, have 10 days to come pick him up. It's been 17 years and though he's in custody, there are few answers.

On Thursday night, Palacios had nothing to say. He had just said goodbye to his son and possibly to his freedom.

"Where have they been all these years?" we asked Palacios' attorney Paul Nugent.

"I'm not going to go into specifics right now," he answered. "That will come out in court."

Deputy marshals took Palacios into custody at his lawyer's office and took him straight to jail. Officials in Waco have been looking for him and his son, Michael, since 1993, when the father was supposed to return the then-toddler to this mother, who had primary custody. Instead, they both vanished.

For years, missing posters showing age progression of the boy had been plastered on billboards and on the sides of trucks. On Thursday, there was a break, not from the public, but from Palacios, who told his attorney to make the call to US marshals in Houston to surrender.

"I called the detectives and deputy marshals in Waco who have been looking for him for 17 years and there was a sigh of relief," said Nugent. "They were really happy."

Palacios, a Baylor graduate and prep school teacher when he became a fugitive, has raised Michael all this time. Nugent wouldn't say whether his son went to school or where they lived, but he does want to go to college. The now 20-year-old was with his father when he surrendered.

"The son, Michael, is very healthy," said Nugent. "He is a happy, well-adjusted, learned young man, an impressive young man."

Nugent says for now, he'll stay with relatives. The little boy is now a young man who never really knew his mother.

"But all these years, he hasn't seen his mother?" we asked.

"It's going to be hard on both of them and again, if there were errors in judgment made, they were made in good faith and motivated by love and what the dad thought was right," said Nugent.

I did speak to the young man's mother Thursday night. In fact, it was not too long after she heard the news. Dee Ann Adams told me she was shocked. She hopes to see her son soon and she is glad this happened.

We did not get to see Michael Thursday, but his father's attorney says we'll meet him soon in court, where he says all questions, especially why now will be answered.


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