In the course of an ongoing police investigation, it is often a good rule of thumb to not lie to the investigating authorities. It builds trust and enables a free flow of (hopefully) credible information that might be used during the investigation. An example of undermining one’s own credibility can be found in the current case of missing 12-year-old Jonathan Foster, where his mother derailed her own credibility when she began telling Houston Police, according to the Houston Chronicle, that she had left her son at a babysitter’s.
And while investigators were trying to find her missing son, police were also working with confusing and inconsistent stories from different parties, Angela Davis’ fabricated tale included, that hampered their ability to mount a better search effort. Unfortunately, fabricating even small parts of a story makes the entire story suspect and casts suspicion on the provider. And now police also have recovered the burned body of what looks to be a child about the same size as Jonathan…
Jonathan Foster’s disappearance on Christmas Eve from his home in Villa Nueva Apartments in Houston began as and progressed into a parent’s full-blown nightmare. Houston Police would later determine, from Angela Davis’ apparently shameful confession, that Jonathan Foster had been at home alone at the time he went missing. Piecing together her revamped story with that of the stepfather helped establish a better timeline — and perhaps drew some of the suspicious attention being favored David Davis (said stepfather) by authorities and the national audience that has picked up Jonathan’s story.
At present, it is believed that David Davis was the last person to see Jonathan Foster — except for a possible abductor. He told police that he found the 12-year-old at home and playing video games at 1:45 p.m.
Angela Davis originally told Houston Police that her son at been at a babysitter’s house and had walked home to get a video game. He was supposed to go right back to the babysitter’s house. He never returned.
But there wasn’t a babysitter that day…
It is as yet unclear when Angela admitted her fabrication, but the public became aware of it after the police released the information. Houston Police had indicated that they were confused with the information they had been getting, including conflicting accounts from relatives and friends. They were having difficulty in trying to pinpoint the missing boy’s whereabouts and establish a timeline around the time of his disappearance.
Angela Davis then says that she received a phone call at her workplace roughly 15 minutes after David says he last saw his stepson. She told police that it was an “emergency” call but nobody was on the line by the time she got to the phone. Martin says that she called her home and a female with a gruff voice answered. She told the person she was Jonathan’s mother, giving her name, and asked the woman to identify herself. Instead, the female asked Jonathan if Angela was his mother. Jonathan affirmed that she was and the woman suddenly hung up the phone.
Angela told Houston Police that she immediately went home, found her son gone and a cordless phone missing.
How much of Angela Davis’ story might be suspect in the eyes of law enforcement that have been searching for Jonathan since Dec. 24 is unknown. They did issue an Amber Alert for the missing 12-year-old on Monday, delaying the Alert, police said later, due to a strategic decision made so as not to flood the investigators with superfluous information which is normally generated at the onset of an investigation.
It was in the Amber Alert that the public would be told that Jonathan might be in the company of a female with a “raspy” voice.
But the Amber Alert delay may have also been a prudent move on the part of law enforcement due to the conflicting and inconsistent stories they had been receiving from family members and friends during their investigation. Amber Alerts are usually relegated to specific incidents of abduction and child endangerment. Not being able to determine the veracity of an informant’s statements, especially when they contradict another’s accounts (or even several others’), can also force a delay.
But it doesn’t just delay the issuing of an Amber Alert; it also hampers and slows an investigation, leaving investigators, who now know that information given them may not always be truthful, to be doubly diligent in tracking and following up on leads.
The discovery of a small, unidentifiable body in a drainage ditch in Houston on Tuesday might have tragically solved the mystery of Jonathan Foster’s whereabouts. The Houston Chronicle has reported that police believe that the remains, which were burned beyond recognition, could be those of the missing boy. However, they continued, along with volunteers and Texas Equusearch (the nationally known search organization team), searching for the boy through Tuesday night.
At the same time, scrutiny on the parents has intensified. HLN’s “Nancy Grace” and other media outlets reported Tuesday that not only has the the stepfather’s vehicle been towed to be searched under warrant but a computer was removed from the home, ostensibly to check to ascertain whether or not Jonathan may have been the victim of an Internet child predator.
Investigators have also been questioning known sex offenders in the area.
While Houston Police await an official identification of the remains, they have begun treating the investigation, at least as a parallel pursuit, as that of a homicide.
“Nancy Grace” Transcript – Dec. 28, CNN.com
Lindsay Wise and Paige Hewitt, “Source: Body believed to be that of missing boy,” Chron.com