It’s horrible to think about, but children go missing all the time. Police do their best to locate them, but not every missing child case gets solved. All anyone wants is some kind of closure, even if it takes years to get it.
When a young boy from Illinois went missing in 2004, his father, who had been fighting for custody, was completely distraught. For two years, no one found a single clue as to his whereabouts, until police searched one very obvious location…
In 2007, a young boy named Ricky Chekevdia went missing. Police, naturally, did everything they could to locate him, but for two years they made no progress. That was until they decided to investigate a close family member.
Ricky’s parents, Michael Chekevdia and Shannon Wilfong, had a tumultuous relationship even before their son was born in 2002. They were on again and off again for years, but one thing was always permanent: their arguing.
After the birth of Ricky, Michael and Shannon worked out an agreement to share custody. The environment they created wasn’t healthy for their son, so Ricky split his time between his mom and dad.
Although Ricky’s mother loved him dearly, it did seem like he had a closer bond with his father. Though Michael was in the Army and got deployed to Iraq shortly after Ricky was born, he still managed to maintain a close relationship with his son.
When Michael finally returned home from his overseas duty, Shannon refused to let Michael see Ricky. Eventually, there was a court hearing scheduled to establish firm visitation rights for Michael. However, Shannon failed to show, and then the unthinkable happened…
Shannon and Ricky both disappeared! Two months after they vanished, the local department officially listed them as missing. Michael was in disbelief. Where was his son?
The police immediately issued a warrant for Shannon’s arrest. It wasn’t likely the two were in trouble; police assumed Shannon fled with Ricky to avoid giving Michael visitation rights. Why wouldn’t Shannon want Ricky’s father to play any role in his life?
When police questioned Shannon’s mother, Diane Dobbs, she told them Michael was abusive, and Shannon more than likely escaped to avoid Ricky growing up in a household where he was hit. She even took things one step further…
She began an intense smear campaign against Michael. She passed out hand-written flyers stating Michael was abusive, and she even went to Michael’s church to spread the word. However, was any of it actually true, or was Diane just covering for her daughter’s crime?
During this time, Michael had a strong suspicion Diane knew something about his son’s whereabouts, but he just couldn’t prove it. Two whole years went by without any evidence, and then in 2009, police received a tip that led them to Diane’s home.
Police had already conducted a search of the grandmother’s house when Ricky and Shannon initially went missing, but they didn’t find anything. This time, however, the search led them to an unusually placed dresser. When the police pulled the dresser away from the wall, they gasped…
Behind the dresser was a small opening that led to a narrow crawlspace. Inside the crawlspace, cowering in the back corner, were Ricky and Shannon! After two years, the police finally found them!
When officers brought the boy outside, he began running around as if he hadn’t been outdoors in years, and that may have been the case. It was a heartbreaking sight for everyone.
Shannon was immediately arrested for felony child abduction, and Diane faced charges of aiding and abetting her daughter. While out on bail, Diane claimed over the course of two years, Ricky spent a total of “five minutes” in the room. However, no one bought her story.
Almost immediately after appearing, Diane was rearrested. The ugly truth was coming out about both mother and daughter, and it was one that painted a very different picture than what they first claimed about Michael’s abuse.
Michael, while obviously shaken by the bizarre series of events that unfolded, was overjoyed that he was finally able to hug his boy again. People no longer saw him as the abuser; he was clearly the victim.
Not long after her arrest, Shannon plead guilty to her charges and faced a fine, as well as two years probation. Michael was granted full custody of his son and retired from his military duties so he could be a full-time father. But, how did the entire ordeal affect Ricky?
As much as you might think an isolated experience would have changed Ricky’s behavior, it actually didn’t. He was still energetic, talkative, and bright. Michael really couldn’t have asked for any other outcome to this upsetting, but eventually relieving case.
It’s a shame that the very first time the police checked the grandmother’s home they didn’t look behind the mysterious dresser. What matters, however, is in the end, Ricky was safe and with a stable parent.
What an absolutely bizarre series of events Michael Chekevdia had to deal with. When it was all said and done, he was finally able to share his experiences with media outlets everywhere.
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