The thought of losing a child is probably one of the scariest thoughts that can cross a parent’s mind. Luckily, children do not go missing very often, but when they do it can cause great distress to their parents and loved ones. Unfortunately, there are quite a few cases in which children have gone missing only to never be found again. When young Ricky Chekevdia went missing in 2007 and police couldn’t find any trace of him for more than two years, everyone feared the worst but luckily, in a bizarre twist of fate, a dresser held the secret to the young boy’s whereabouts.
Ricky Goes Missing
Ricky Chekevdia was a happy and active 4-year-old boy when he went missing in November 2007. The boy’s parents were amid a heated custody battle when Ricky and his mother went missing without any warning or trace. Initially the police did not make too much of their disappearance since they thought that Ricky and Shannon had disappeared after an argument between Shannon and Ricky’s father but that soon proved not to be the case.
The local police searched everywhere for Ricky and Shannon but kept coming up empty handed, it was as if the two had disappeared from the face of the planet. Ricky’s father, Michael Chekevdia was suspect number one and the police, as well as Ricky’s grandmother, suspected that he had something to do with the disappearance. Michael, however, protested his innocence and kept searching for his son despite the odds being stacked against him.
Interestingly, Shannon and Ricky disappeared right after the court had awarded full custody of Ricky to his father, Michael. Police quickly began suspecting that Shannon had fled with Ricky to prevent his father from exercising his custody rights. A warrant for Shannon Wilfong’s arrest was issued but police were still unable to find the boy or his mother.
Police eventually questioned Ricky’s grandmother, Dianne Dobbs, and she immediately suggested that Michael was abusive and that Shannon may have fled to prevent Ricky having to grow up in an abusive environment.
Dianne tried so hard to paint a picture perfect image of her daughter that it made the police suspicious of her motives. Was this simply a grandmother who was genuinely concerned about her family or was she simply trying to shift suspicion away from her daughter?
Dianne went so far as to launch a full-on smear campaign against Michael and even handed out flyers that badmouthed Michael out at his church. Although the remarks and allegations that Shannon made against Michael caused people to treat him with suspicion, he kept his head held high and didn’t allow the nasty comments to get to him.
Ever since Ricky’s disappearance, Michael had been suspicious that Shannon may be somehow involved but he could never find any evidence to prove his suspicions. The local police have also been on the lookout for Shannon and Ricky for almost two years without as much as a shred of evidence to point them in the right direction.
As the days and months went by, people started to forget about Ricky and his mysterious disappearance but his father never forgot or stopped looking for him. Suddenly and out of the blue the police received a life-changing phone call–could this be the information that everyone had been waiting for?
No-one expected to find Ricky where they did and it was unbelievable that he had been so close to his desperate father all this time. How could no one find Ricky and how did he manage to disappear right under everyone’s noses? The police and Michael were beginning to lose hope that Ricky would ever be found. They were desperately in need of a miracle.
ust when everyone thought nothing more could be done, the police received a call with a simple message–”check behind the dresser!” When Ricky and Shannon had gone missing two years earlier, the police searched Ricky’s grandmother’s house and they could not find a trace of the little boy. However, this time they were armed with specific information and they were going to search the house one more time.
When the police arrived at Dianne Dobbs’ house they were surprised to find a large wooden dresser placed in a very awkward position, just as the caller had said. No-one on the police force was prepared for what they would discover when they moved the dresser aside. Could this be the moment that everyone had been waiting for?
No-one could believe what was behind the dresser! The massive wooden dresser was hiding an entrance to a secret room, and lo and behold, inside the small room they found Shannon and Ricky. The two were hiding in the corner of the washing-machine sized room that was certainly not in livable conditions.
It seemed like Ricky and Shannon had been living in the tiny space for the two years that they had been missing and because they were so well hidden, no-one caught a glimpse of Ricky during all that time.
In fact, the space in which Ricky was living is so small that it couldn’t be called a room but should rather be referred to as a crawl space between two walls. It is truly amazing that he and his mother managed to stay in such a small space for almost two years. How was it possible that the two were never seen or heard?
Ricky was forced to stay indoors during the day and wasn’t even allowed to look at the outside world through the house’s windows. Instead, the blinds were always kept drawn and Ricky was completely isolated from the outside world. By doing this, Dianne and Shannon could manage to keep Ricky hidden from prying eyes that might give his location away.
When Ricky saw daylight, fresh air and green grass after being locked away in the small room for so long, he ran and played like a boy who had never before seen the outdoors. This was a heart-breaking moment for the police officers and no-one could understand how a mother could keep her child locked away for such a long time, no matter what her reasons may have been.
Soon after both Dianne and Shannon were charged and arrested. Even as the two were carted off to court, Dianne maintained their innocence and said that they were only acting in Ricky’s best interests and protecting him from his father.
After being released on bail, Dianne appeared on a talk show where she insisted that Ricky had only spent a total of five minutes in the small room. Unfortunately for Dianne nobody believed in what she had to say anymore and she was re-arrested shortly after appearing on the show.
After Ricky was found he was placed into the custody of social services to keep him safe while they made sure that it was indeed safe for him to return home. Once the investigation were to end, Ricky would be reunited with his father. Michael patiently waited for the day that he would be able to hold his son in his arms again.
In the meantime, Shannon was also placed in safe custody- although this type of safe custody might have been a bit less comfortable. Shannon got a taste of her own medicine as she was held in county jail pending the outcome of the investigation and trial. At least she had access to a window, daylight and fresh air.
Shannon wasn’t alone in jail. Her mother was also locked up as they waited for a judge to preside over their case and decide whether or not they were guilty of abducting a minor. Ricky’s mother and grandmother’s hope was to convince a jury that they were only acting in Ricky’s best interests. Nonetheless, they kept maintaining that Michael was abusive and that they did nothing wrong. Would anyone believe them?
Despite all the roadblocks and challenges Michael faced, he never lost hope or took the law into his own hands. He instead decided to wait patiently until social services and the judicial system allowed him to reunite with his son on a permanent basis. Ricky was carefully evaluated by social services staff to make sure that he wasn’t suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or any other kind of abuse. Although this may seem cruel, it was done to ensure that Ricky was being returned to a loving parent who would protect him and offer a stable home.
In what must have seen like a very protracted and unfair process, Michael emerged victoriously and finally had the right and the ability to protect his son and live with him in peace. The court awarded sole custody of the young boy to his father who now takes pride in the way in which he fought for his son and never lost hope that he would be found.
Now the question was – why would a mother kidnap her own child? Is it because she was scared that she was not Ricky’s favorite parent or that she would not be able to see Ricky after his father was awarded full custody? We will never know exactly what motivated Sharon to behave in this strange way and until this day she refuses to let the cat out of the bag.
During the court hearing, Shannon Wilfong pleaded guilty on charges of abduction, but she did not provide any details on the reasoning behind her actions or shed any light on the two-year period during which she and Ricky was missing. The fact that she kept quiet only served to strengthen the case against her.
Shannon had some help in pulling off her kidnapping stunt from her mother, Dianne Dobbs. Dobbs was also charged with criminal abduction and stood trial alongside her daughter, however, the pair kept insisting that they didn’t do anything wrong at all.
Although we will probably never know the true reasoning behind Shannon’s actions, we can at least be sure of one thing- Ricky is back with his father where he belongs and he is doing very well now that he is living with a stable parent in a child-friendly environment.
After his terrible ordeal Ricky has become a happy and well-adjusted boy who loves spending time with his father. Luckily the terrible ordeal doesn’t seem to have left any permanent mental or physical scars on Ricky. According to those close to Ricky and Michael, Ricky is a very active young boy who spends most of his time outdoors. We can certainly understand that being cooped up indoors for nearly two years can make anyone see the outdoors in a new light.
Today, Ricky is living a normal life as a teenager and he enjoys participating in a variety of sports events. His proud father is normally by his side to celebrate his accomplishments. Isn’t this the way that every child should grow up?
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