A Wisconsin woman is still searching for her two sons, both of whom went missing 30 years ago.
Ruth Parker’s two sons, CJ and Billy, were 3 and 2 years old, respectively, when they were abducted by their father, Charles Martin Vosseller, WKOW reports.
A judge looked this inmate straight in the eyes and said something that left the entire courtroom in tears:
Vosseller had reportedly been planning the abduction for months; one day, he took the boys on a vacation from which they never returned.
Parker tried to alert authorities, but they were skeptical of her story, she says. “[The Rochester police officer] said to me words I will never forget… which is, ‘What’s the big deal? They’re with their dad.'”
Parental child abduction wasn’t taken as seriously in the 1980s as it is today. “The [officer looked] kind of stunned,” remembered Parker. “At that point, child abduction wasn’t much in the news, in the press, anything of the sort. Let alone parental abduction wasn’t known well at all.”
It took her seven months to get the FBI involved. According to the Daily Mail, they came close to catching Vosseller once, when a woman he was dating alerted them to his whereabouts. But by the time the FBI arrived, his house and car had been burned to the ground, and Vosseller had fled.
Meanwhile, Parker has suffered in relative silence for the last three decades. “You can’t stay in that worry place. It’s crippling,” Parker said. “In order to do this, to find your kids, you cannot be crippled. You need to work and fight and research and do what you need to do.”
Parker claims that she would not insist on a relationship with her boys if she found them, though she would want one. She has given samples of her DNA to ancestry tracking firms, in the hopes that her two sons become curious about their mother and visit one.
CJ and Billy likely have different names and identities and could be living anywhere in the country — or anywhere in the world.
Below are renderings of what CJ and Billy could potentially look like today.