The parental kidnapping charges against Ernesto Gonzalez have been dropped for lack of evidence. Ernesto’s five-year-old son, Giovanni, disappeared from Lynn, Massachusetts in 2008 and Ernesto later claimed he’d murdered him, but it’s far from clear what happened; the evidence the police found didn’t support the father’s confession. He was charged with child endangerment, but that was dropped last year. He’s still in jail for misleading the police, but it sounds like he might get bailed out now. The police and Giovanni’s mother hope very much that he’s still alive. He’d be eight years old now.
Meanwhile in Florida, the Melissa Cooper has refused a plea deal in the Pilar Rodriguez case. Melissa was Pilar’s babysitter and she and her boyfriend took Pilar with them on a vacation in 1999. Pilar, who was three, vanished and is presumed to have been murdered. Melissa and her boyfriend, Keith Wilson, have each accused each other of killing her. Last summer, Melissa was charged with aggravated manslaughter. Well, she had reached a plea deal with prosecutors, but changed her mind at quite literally the last minute. (The article doesn’t say what she was going to plea to. Is this confidential maybe?) So the case is back on the table. Keith Wilson has never been charged in Pilar’s disappearance.
I found this article where they interviewed the paternal grandmother of Giovanni Gonzalez, who’s been missing from Lynn, Massachusetts (same place as Jesus De La Cruz who was about the same age) for two and a half years. He was five then, and would be almost eight now if he is still alive, which I think is unlikely. Giovanni’s father, Ernesto, has been charged with his kidnapping his son and is awaiting trial. He actually confessed to killing Giovanni. The police could find no evidence to support his statement. Nonetheless, many people believe Ernesto did murder his son, though perhaps not like he said in the confession.
Ernesto’s mother, Lydia Gonzalez, lives in Puerto Rico. She sounds like a sensible, decent enough woman who had the misfortune to raise a monster of a son. Which happens sometimes. Some people turn out to be evil and it’s not necessarily the parents’ fault — look at some families were one sibling is a wonderful, compassionate individual and another sibling is a vicious criminal type whom you wouldn’t trust to babysit your house plant.
Getting back to Lydia, she says she loves Ernesto but she’s been estranged from him and hasn’t even spoken to him for the past several years because of his criminal behavior and drug involvement. They wanted her to come to Massachusetts to see if she could convince Ernesto to fess up to what really happened to Giovanni. She was going to go, then she changed her mind. I highly doubt Lydia would have been able to help, anyway.
Ernesto has four children with various women. The reporter located one of his old girlfriends in Puerto Rico and spoke to her. Their son is 18, also lives in Puerto Rico and attends college. He was extremely upset to hear about Giovanni’s disappearance and is now in counseling. The entire Puerto Rican branch of the Gonzalez family came under police scrutiny, which naturally upset them. For awhile the police thought Giovanni might be in hiding with Ernesto’s family on the island, though I think they’ve ruled that theory out. Ernesto has harmed, and continues to harm, quite a lot of people.
“If my son is guilty, then he should pay,” Lydia says. “If he’s innocent, then he should speak.”
Two years after five-year-old Giovanni Gonzalez disappeared during a visit with his father Ernesto, two years after Ernesto was charged with child endangerment, one year and ten months after Ernesto told a news reporter he had murdered his son, one year and nine months after the child endangerment charge was dropped and Ernesto was charged with parental kidnapping and misleading the police instead: the trial has been postponed yet again. They are still waiting on some DNA report out of Texas, it seems.
I feel so sorry for Giovanni’s mother, Daisy Colon. She did everything right. Although she and Ernesto had separated years before, she wanted her son to have a father in his life. She even attended counseling sessions with Ernesto so they could both be better parents. And then he did something — God only knows what — to that little boy, who was only five and had never hurt anyone. The article I linked to says Daisy has attended every court proceeding on the case. Somehow, she’s managed to not throttle Ernesto yet.
I really hope Giovanni is alive. More to the point, I hope Ernesto tells the truth about what he did to him. This is Sam and Lindsey Porter all over again.
I have been idle these past few days. I hadn’t blogged in eleven days, and I hadn’t updated in three, until today. No particular reason, I’ve just had other things to do.
I think I will have to add a Contact Page to Charley. Right now I’ve just got my email on the frontpage. However, I’ve been getting way too many inappropriate emails lately. By which I mean people sending me tips on particular cases, potential matches to Does, etc. I say in my FAQ that I am not the person to send such information to, that a tipster should contact the law enforcement agency listed in the casefile. But no one ever reads FAQs really, I guess. I don’t even bother to respond to such emails. Maybe if I put up a Contact Page saying explicitly: “Don’t send me tips that would be better placed in the hands of the police,” people will actually listen. On the plus side, I haven’t gotten any lawsuit threats in ages. A particularly vicious emailer last month said “I hope you get sued,” but I decided that didn’t count since he didn’t say HE was going to sue me.
Today I added Giovanni Gonzalez to Charley. It’s actually a day too early, but the NCMEC gives an August 15 date and by the time I found out he’d actually gone missing on August 16, I’d already done a lot of work on the casefile so I figured, why not, I made this site so I can make the rules and break them if I want.
Giovanni’s case reminds me of the infamous Caylee Anthony and also Sam and Lindsey Porter, who disappeared from Missouri in 2004. Their father sat in jail for months, telling all sorts of outrageous stories about where the kids were, just so he could torture their mother. I think it was eighteen months later that he finally confessed he’d shot both children and he lead the cops to their bodies. Ernesto Gonzalez sounds like the same kind of man, except I’m not at all sure Giovanni’s dead, and I’m quite sure that if he’s dead it didn’t happen the way Ernesto says. In any case, I believe Giovanni has got to be somewhere very close by. Ernesto was a meatpacker; he didn’t have a lot of cash lying around for an expensive trip, and even if he’d had I think the police would have tracked his spending by now. He had no car and he used a bicycle or public transport to get around. So he could only have taken the kid so far. So either Giovanni is being concealed by a third party (but who?) or he’s in a shallow grave or a landfill in the Lynn area. Hopefully the threat of ten years in prison will loosen Ernesto’s tongue, but Daniel Porter didn’t talk even after he’d been threatened with forty years.
Nothing else to say at present.