November marks the five year anniversary of the disappearance of Jaliek Rainwalker, the 12-year-old boy who vanished from Washington County. As YNN's Matt Hunter explains, a national organization is poised to provide local law enforcement with some much needed help.
GREENWICH, N.Y. -- “You look at today and it's overcast, it's cloudy and it's dreary,” Barbara Reeley said Wednesday. “That's what our lives have been like for four years."
Nearly five years after his sudden and mysterious disappearance, Jaliek Rainwalker's adopted grandparents are clinging to hope the young boy is still alive. He was just 12 when he was last seen by family on November 1, 2007.
"We think about him every day. I mean, he's our grandson, he's a marvelous child, he doesn't deserve to be missing," said Dennis Smith, Reeley’s husband and Rainwalker’s grandfather.
While local and state police have searched extensively over the years, their efforts have been far from fruitful. Now nearly five years later, they will get some outside assistance. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's cold case team is set to come to Washington County to review the case.
"That's what we're looking for, just a fresh set of eyes coming in to take a look at the whole case and say we've either A) covered every lead and exhausted everything or there's other potential things out there,” Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell said.
It's likely the team will look closely at Jaliek's adopted parents, Steven and Jocelyn Kerr. The couple, which has cut off contact with law enforcement and Jaliek's grandparents, has long been viewed as "persons of interest."
"If you really cared about Jaliek, it's been five years. Quit hiding and come forward," Bell said.
The more time passes, the less likely a positive outcome is possible. Despite those long odds, Jaliek's loved ones are forging ahead with their search.
"I always hold out hope he's still alive, but that hope has really diminished over the last four years," Reeley said.
"It matters to us,” Smith said. “Jaliek was a wonderful child, we deserve to find out what happened to him. We need to know."