Site Meter

Text Version:

(Introduction to show begins)

ERIC MEADOWS (WCAN Co-Host): You have joined us for another episode of Missing Pieces, hosted by Todd Matthews and myself, Eric Meadows. Todd, how are you tonight?

TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host): Doing great, we survived the holiday.

ERIC: Oh yeah, we all did.

TODD: Well we’re mid way through the holiday.

ERIC: Yeah we’ve got what? New Years is coming up.

TODD: Yes, it is coming up on us fast. This is the last show of the year, seventeenth episode. Can you believe it?

ERIC: Yeah, we have come quite a ways, haven’t we?

TODD: Seventeen on-earth hours.

ERIC: Well that’s excellent. Listen, who did you bring with you tonight?

TODD: Tonight I have an old friend, Alan Tate. Alan. Welcome.

ALAN TATE (Guest): Hi, how’s it going?

ERIC: Doing pretty good Alan, how are you?

ALAN: Doing pretty good.

ERIC: Well I met Alan a few years ago. Originally I got a phone call from the Overton County Library and I live here in Overton County. She said a young man had come to the library, searching for information on his siblings. They had been separated because of a crime. I ended up talking to him, he had an incredible story. I think eleven of you guys.

ALAN: Twelve

TODD: Twelve yes, because of Alan Ray.

ALAN: Thirteen with Alan Ray.

TODD: Yeah, including you. There is a lot of children. They lived in an Amish community called Muddy Pond, here in Overton County. The Department of Children’s Services had to intervene in this family because of something that had happened. The family was separated, put into foster homes and they were not allowed contact. Well in the mean time, Alan had become a man. He was wanting to reconnect with his family. Alan can you tell us about what you were looking for when you came to the Overton County Library?

ALAN: That is where all the court proceedings took place and I was trying to locate any documents I could use to find my brother’s and sister’s with.

TODD: And that’s not easy, trying to open Department of Children’s Services files. And this is the original, very short letter that I have got.

TODD: So, something was happening to you guys? And you’ve been very brave and we have actually located your brother’s and sister’s. But something had to happen first. What was happening to you, in your home at Muddy Pond, Tennessee and you were in an Amos community? Were you actually Amish?

ALAN: We joined the Amish so he could cover up the family and stuff and the Mennonites don’t call the law for anything so it was a cover up.

TODD: And that was your dad?

ALAN: Right.

TODD: And what was he trying to cover up?

ALAN: He was trying to cover up his molestation, rape, child abuse and all that kind of stuff because he knew they did not go to the law very often.

TODD: But something did happen, one of your sisters actually spoke to somebody in the community.

ALAN: Right

TODD: And the Department of Children’s Service’s came in. The most unthinkable thing that could happen happened and the family was separated. And I am afraid that that’s what you guys had that was the most near and dear thing to you was each other.

ALAN: That’s what we had for years and years, is we took care of each other and looked out for each other.

TODD: Looking out for each other. How did you do this, living like you had to live?

ALAN: We had to go hunting and fishing everyday. And if he found out something he didn’t like and you knew you they were going to take a beating for it, you stood up for everyone pretty much and lied and said you did it. So that the younger ones wouldn’t get as severe punishment as the older ones.

TODD: And the older ones were Alan Ray and you? Fifteen and Sixteen when this happened. So you were like taking the brunt of all this abuse most of the time trying to prevent the younger ones from having to endure abuse?

ALAN: Correct.

TODD: Now I know you have had differences of opinion with your mother over this.

ALAN: Correct.

TODD: But, you know we have talked about this before. I think that in some degree your mother was a victim herself.

ALAN: Right, she was as a kid raising up and she was abused herself. She went to her mother for help and was denied help and so she grew up believing that’s the way she was to be treated.  I still think she should have tried to get help for us, but that was a failure on her part. I do try to understand that with the relationship with my mother.

TODD: But, you still communicate with your mom?

ALAN: Yeah

TODD: That’s going fairly well then. It has been three years since we helped you hook back up with your siblings and that wasn’t easy. The first thing I wanted to do when I spoke to Alan about his family was to talk to the children services here in Overton County and I found out very quickly that even though some of these people were adults already and in order to protect the children these cases were sealed. And as even as an adult you still could not break this seal. I work a lot with the child abuse center here in Overton County and I did everything I could possibly do, I pulled every string I could possibly pull and it was just impossible. Ultimately we had to resort to some private investigation techniques to locate some other family members that resulted in a cold call. I had to make a call to one of the brothers and sisters and hook them back up with Alan. I know so much has happened in your life, it's been incredible. How did that feel when you first got the call, from one of your sisters? How was that to reconnect with her?

ALAN: It was great. People would set there and tell you there ok and everything but its one of the things you don’t know. You hear a lot of things about foster kids going out of the fire into the firing pan. All of them were adopted into the same place that were adopted out and I found out they had real good parents who took real good care of them. 

TODD: And you had some clues that made it easy to follow, you had a family name. We won’t mention the family name but it made it easy to track the progress of the remaining siblings and since they were all in the same spot it was easy to locate all of those. Have you met them since then?

ALAN: Yes, I have met Maranatha. We met on a couple of occasions. I have not met none of the other ones but I have talked to another one.

TODD: And some are not actually an adult yet, some are actually still children. We found something we weren’t really counting on during this point and time; we built a web site because we weren’t sure we would be able to reach them directly. And we heard from a brother that was left behind in Texas.

ALAN: Right.

TODD: And that was Alan Ray.

ALAN: Right, and Alan Ray ran away when he was about twelve or thirteen years old.

TODD: And that was because of?

ALAN: What was going on and I was only like five years old when he ran away.

TODD: You know I knew of Alan Ray and I knew he was actually left behind in Texas because he did run away. We actually did find a John Doe that we thought was Alan Ray. Thank God it was not him. And we did hear from him. His wife made a phone call one day. Have you met with him yet?

ALAN: No I have not met with him yet but we have talked on the phone several times. He is hoping to be able to afford to come this way and I’m hoping to be able to afford to go his way.

TODD: Well he sounded like a really nice guy.

ALAN: Yeah, we will probably met in the middle some day.

TODD: As recently as last month that I heard from your mother’s sister. I gave her, well actually gave you her telephone number.

ALAN: Yeah, I called her. She was excited to talk to me but she was more interested in trying to get a hold of my mom because it's been such a long time that they had any communication. They talked to each other quite a bit. I haven’t talked to her since then but if I figure if she wants to call me she can call me.

TODD: This story has so many different things. Could you tell us a little bit more and I am sure Eric wants to hear about growing up? I won't push you and I won’t make you talk about anything that not something you don’t want to talk about. I have some great letters from you and I’m hoping that there is somebody out there, that is sort of in the same situation that you're in, and need a little help in taking that final step.

ALAN: When I was a child being raised up, I got beaten over things like putting to much syrup on a pancake. Having beaten to a bloody pulp and watching my sisters getting molested or raped. You know the problem is with people. They find it hard to believe that something like this can happen in this day and time. It wasn’t that long ago that it happened; I’m only thirty years old. And you know stuff like that is going on every day, right now even as we speak. The important thing is for everybody to watch out for the children. The children are the most important things in our life’s and as a good parent or a good person; we want to make sure all children are safe.

TODD: Well you know what? The case workers, I spoke with the case workers in your case and I actually knew some of them, they were terrified of your dad and your dad was in prison.

ALAN: Yeah and one person quit because of it.

TODD: Now what could he do to possible intimidate State officials?

ALAN: Well it hasn’t been proven but there is suspicion of him doing murder that I know of because I had to clean the blood up from it. I wasn’t tried in court because they didn’t have enough evidence to pin it on him.

TODD: Now I have a letter from you we put on the internet, you wrote: Dear Brothers and Sisters, and I hope they hear this just in case they are listening or hear this in the future. When I close my eyes at night, I can still see the tears, hear the crying and feel the pain of all of you. I want to see if all of you are happy and your troubles are gone. Maranatha, I want to know what you wanted to say to me, because I remember the last words you said were, “Alan, I need to talk to you. I love you. Bye.” I love you with all my heart and hope to find you soon. I am trying every way to find you. I hope I haven’t betrayed your trust or hurt you by telling your story in this public way. Love, Alan

TODD: And that was one of your hesitations when we first started talking. You didn’t want to betray their trust by describing these events that happened.

ALAN: Right. Well, I didn’t betray their trust since I talked to them. I also found out what she was wanting to talk to me about. She was wanting to ask me to come with them. Which I already tried but the social workers told her that I said I didn’t want to go. When actually they told me that no one would adopt a teenage boy.

TODD: Because there were two of you, a fifteen and a sixteen year old. See, these two, the fifteen and sixteen year old were left behind in the Amos community. They were raised by a very nice Amish family. The fact that they were separated from their siblings and did not have any idea where they went. Can you image what these guys were going through?

ERIC: May I say something?

TODD: Yeah, I was hoping.

ERIC: I’m listening to this story and you say there were twelve of you?

ALAN: Yes sir.

ERIC: When you were separated, ten of you went one way and the other two of you were left behind in the Amos community?

ALAN: Right.

ERIC: At that time, where was your mother?

ALAN: We were left in my mothers care.

ERIC: You were left in your mothers care.

ALAN: Right.

ERIC: Okay. At that time was your father then in prison?

ALAN: Yes, he was in prison.

ERIC: And your mother didn’t know where he had gone to?

ALAN: No. She not even allowed to have, um, I have more rights to find him than her because she now has to file as a sex offender every year.

ERIC: Oh, Okay.

TODD: Is your father still in prison?

ALAN: No. He was released early in 2001 or 2002, something like that.

TODD: Does he have to register as a sex offender?

ALAN: I think he does, but I don’t think he is because of the document was done before 1994 or 1991.

TODD: Well I‘ve looked, and I’ve been asked to look under sex offenders in that area. He is not there. Or he hasn’t been until very recently and that has been a bit of a problem with me. I want to work on that and I want to talk to Alan about it first, before I push that issue any further, because obviously there is a dangerous individual out there that is now free to enter society.

ALAN: We have no idea where he is at. He could be living down the street from me. One of the last words my father said to me was “When I get out of prison, I’m going to beat you to a bloody pulp.”  I know he has it in him and one day I expect him to show up.

TODD: Now I know you’re a grown man and that you have had to brave many things. Many things have scared you in growing up in your life and you have described to me things, me personally in more detail by myself, things that have happened to you in your life. It takes quit a man to do that and you didn’t put any burden on yourself and you didn’t feel guilty or ashamed. You were very open and honest with it. Are you afraid of your dad, for what he might be able to do to you or your children?

ALAN: Yes and no. If I am with my family, I ain’t got no fear because I know I can handle the situation. My fear is what will happen if I am not at home?

TODD: This man is a great manipulator. He has managed to do a lot of different things and do a lot of damage to a lot of different people.

ALAN: Right.

TODD: You know, I feel like he should be on the sex offender web site and if I can make that happen, I am going to. He has got to be tracked in some way. Do you think this has hurt your relationship with your siblings?

ALAN: Has it hurt my relationship?

TODD: Yes, because you are like a stranger to them in some ways. 

ALAN: No, it don’t hurt my relationship with my children.

TODD: No you siblings, your brothers and sisters.

ALAN: Oh, my brothers and sisters?

TODD: Now you’ve been a great dad, I’ve seen that. You have made for lost time with your own children; I know that for a fact.

ALAN: It does in a way, because when I first started talking to the ones I am able to talk to right now, they were some what shocked. I was like someone new coming in. We started talking about old days and how we used to get into fights and things we used to do with each other that was fun. We are still like brothers and sisters. There is a little distance between us but it is not that bad. It is hardly noticeable.

TODD: I just don’t think it is fair what the state did to you. You were so punished by what your father had done to you. I don’t know if you were even told what was going to happen to you. I am looking at a picture Eric, of all these children together smiling. It is a beautiful group picture. They are all dressed up. Now we will have this picture on Missing Pieces in the archives. In looking at their faces, you would never know that there was anything going on here. You can not see any hurt on their faces by looking at these pictures. I think they were just so happy to be together. Each other was all they had.

ALAN: Yes, that is all we had was each other. Another thing is, if we showed any type of pain when we were getting abusive treatment, it just made it that much worse. We were less taught to stay focused all the time.

TODD: You had to show your strong face all the time. I know you lived with an Amish family after your mother had moved on else where.

ALAN:  She moved to Woodberry and I moved in with the Gunter’s.

TODD: The Gunter family and they are still in Muddy Pond. I did visit with Alan when he was with the Gunter family and I think they were making sorghum or molasses.

ALAN: It was sogrhum.

TODD: I got to watch Alan as they were going through that process. He fell right in just like he was one of the Gunter family children. It was just an amazing thing to look it. It looked like he belonged there. The Gunter’s were really good people, right?

ALAN: Oh yes, they were really good people.

TODD: Did they ever talk about that?

ALAN: Oh yeah we’ve talked about it on several occasions. They have always been good to me and tried to understand me and what I went through and stuff. I could call them right now and if something was bothering me, I could talk to them about it.

TODD: Now why did you stay with the Gunter family when your mother moved away? Did you and your brother both stay or did your brother go with your mother?

ALAN: My brother went with my mother.

TODD: And you stayed.

ALAN: I stayed because I knew my sisters would know how to get in contact with the Gunter’s and I was hoping that someday they would.

TODD: Now I knew why you stayed. You stayed hoping someday they would find their way back to you.

ALAN: Right.

TODD: I know it was another sacrifice to let your mother and your brother go. And now I know why you did it because of the conversations that we have had. You waited for quite a while. What prompted you to finally go and try to look at the library?

ALAN: After I got married and told my wife the story, she encouraged me about it. She said why don’t we just go down there and see what we can do. We went down there and the law does say I can have any personal record of mine but they wouldn’t give me personal records of mine. So I went down to the library and tried to get the print out of the adoption laws so I could find my personal records. We were sitting there talking to the librarian about it and she said, hey I know somebody that could help you find them. And that is how I was able to get in contact with you.

TODD: It was great you called. It really wasn’t my field of expertise. I knew it was defiantly possible with the internet. I wasn’t prepared for the story that you told me. Eric, have you ever heard of this level of abuse that these children lived through?

ERIC: No I haven’t. The only thing I’ve heard this evening come close and is not at this magnitude, is this recent trial that they just had with a family that had taken in foster children and locked them up in cages. You know Alan, my thing is during this time, you guys only had each other to talk to correct?

ALAN: Correct. Most of ours lives we lived ten miles from the closest house if not more.


ALAN: It wasn’t like we could go to a neighbor somewhere because we lived in a tent out in the middle of the woods as far away as we could get. We didn’t stay in one place very long. We moved like every six months.

ERIC: Ok. Now this was an Amish community correct?

ALAN: Correct.

ERIC: How did they fit all of you living in a tent?

ALAN: We moved in a house in the Mennonite community.


TODD: See, they came in from Texas. Where were you born?

ALAN: I was born in Texas.

TODD: So you sort of migrated in tents, shacks and I think you lived just about everywhere didn’t you?

ALAN: Yes, we lived in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky. While we were living in Arkansas, around Paragould, Arkansas is when he decided to go in with the Amish community.

ERIC: During this whole time you and your other siblings were going through this abuse, correct?

ALAN: Correct.

ERIC: What was your mom saying at this time? Was she saying, just put up with it, that it was ok? I understand that she was traumatized also through the whole thing also but was there any level of comfort with your mom?

ALAN: Well my mom did take part in some of the abuse, of the beatings and stuff with the younger ones. But as far as much comfort, she didn’t want to talk about it. That was not something you did not discuss with her. It was basically like if it didn’t happen in front of her then nothing was going on.

TODD: Avoiding.

ERIC: Has there been any reconciliation between you and your mother? What I mean is have the two of you decided to come together and you say what you need to say?

ALAN: Yes, I have said stuff that I needed to say and there is a lot of stuff that I needed to say but I can’t because of a promise that I made to my sisters and we have an understanding of our opinions of it. I don’t hate my mom or anything like that. We get together on the holidays. I go see her every so often. I keep her at a distance but I don’t keep her at a great distance.

ERIC: Ok, ok.

TODD: One of the things that gave this guy away, the children that were born in tents and on the road, they didn’t have a birth certificate. The fact is they had to have birth certificate created here in Overton County, which gave me a good starting place. It was in 1992 that they were adopted into this other family in the eastern part of the state. It all tracked back to here because they had to have that birth certificate that was created where this happened. It was a great asset for that to happen. If it had not of happened, I’m not sure it would have been as easy to locate them and to make contact with them. That was a difficult phone call to make because I didn’t know if they wanted to hear from him or what they had been told about him. For all I knew is they may have sought him as a villain now because he was obviously separated from them for some reason.

ALAN: That is one thing that I have always tried to take great care in, is I wanted to send a message to them to get in contact with me. I didn’t want to contact them because I didn’t know how they felt either. That was one thing and still is a major factor for all the ones who are not of age for me to get in contact with.

TODD: I have a feeling they will let them know, your older brothers and sisters will let them know. Do you see a reunion at some point and time where all of you maybe short your mother?

ALAN: I defiantly see a reunion for us all; one thing is their parents don’t approve of me yet. That’s because they had to find out about me searching for them and Robert being out of jail at the same time. As of right now they don’t want none of them having communications with me.

TODD: I can understand that to some degree.

ALAN: I can understand it to. With time, when each of them gets of age, that they will be more open to me being in their lives. I am not going to ask them for me to see them. I would like for them to set there and try to listen to the ones who want to contact me. If they want to meet me somewhere and just talk to me, I am willing to do that.

TODD: Well I hope they are listening to this now. I have meet Alan many times and I believe with all my heart that he is a good man. I’ve seen him with his children, so far he’s made up and he is still paying for the sins of his father by being separated from his other brothers and sisters. He defiantly loves his children and I believe they are being very well taken care of.

ERIC: That’s good. Alan, how long was it between the time all of you were separated and the time you made contact with one of the other children?

ALAN: About eleven years, twelve years.

ERIC: Wow, that’s along time to be away. Did you ever think that it was not going to happen or that you would not find them again?

ALAN: I knew I would eventually. I didn’t know if it was going to be when I was sixty years old or when it was going to happen. I knew if I kept myself out where people could get in contact with me that I would find them. One rule I’ve always had is be open about my life and that’s the main reason why I wanted to be open about it is because it happens every day. It is up to good people to help those who needs it.

ERIC: That is so true.

TODD: Imagine this type of atrocity going on in this day and age. This was pretty well out of the public view at the time. It happened and I knew very little about it.

ALAN: Right they kept a close case going.

TODD: Just rumors, you just heard rumors about something that had happened in that community. You never had any idea that there was this much drama involved in it. Now, I know that the names of sexual offenders who committed sexual offenses before July 1, 1997 are confidential and only subject to release if the sexual offender is being opposed as a threat to the community. I still think he does, if he is out there I still think he does.

ALAN: I think he does to.

TODD: Do you think he just stopped?

ALAN: No. There was one person of the Mennonite community named Ababeeche. He went several times to get testimonial to try and get him to change his way. He said all he does is sit there and holler out that he is innocent, he never done anything.

TODD: Sounds like he has a twisted mind. What do you think caused this? Do you know anything about your father’s own past? I know you have had to have conversations with your mother as to why. I know she was sort of in shell shock herself, she didn’t have any; you know she knew better but she didn’t know better. I think she thought the best thing to do was keep you quiet, endure it and just keep you alive.

ALAN: Right. In his past he really didn’t have that much trauma except for a divorce. He didn’t have that much trauma in his childhood. The thing is, he for some reason with my mom he decided that God owed him. I was like five years old when my first memory of all this stuff happened. At five years old is when I realized what was really going on.

TODD: He felt that God owed him for what?

ALAN: I really will never know for sure.

TODD: So he just made this statement. What a crazy statement to say!

ERIC: You know Alan; I am sitting here and thinking about the eleven years that you endured this separation. I can only imagine the magnitude of the hurt because I don’t know about that kind of hurt. What would go through your mind knowing that you were finally released from the situation that was really bad for you and that your brothers and sisters were off somewhere else? You had to feel like or even think that they might be going through something that was as bad or worse and living every day not knowing where they were.

ALAN: Well, the thing is I knew they were taken out of one situation, but I worried all the time they were in another situation. It's like that one letter that I wrote about seeing their tears and hearing the screams every night. I didn’t sleep very much. I would go on two hours of sleep every day. It did bother me but at the same time I knew that life ain’t going to stand still for anyone. I knew the best thing was for me to make the best of my life that I could and that’s what I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. It was very painful because I felt like I was being punished but at the same time I was glad that they were out of the situation.

ERIC: Right, right.

TODD: You know this is such a gray area taking children out of the home because of the crime. It’s usually not such a large family and usually they are placed together if possible. This being split like this and it’s done to protect the children in so many ways. Seeing Alan obsessing and I will tell you trying to locate these people wasn’t as easy as giving Alan the phone number and telling him to knock himself out with it, I couldn’t do that. It was a lot of different laws that were put into play and I was kind of boarding on myself breaching those laws trying to put them back together. It had to be their choice to reach out to him. I had to find a way to let them know where he was. I never gave their contact information to Alan because that would have been illegal. I just made sure they knew where he was and there was only one way to do that.

ALAN: And at the same time I didn’t want it until they wanted to give it to me. 

TODD: And he was trying to obey the laws, the laws that actually separated him from his siblings. You see this balance you think well, what’s the greater good hear? You know?

ERIC: You know what I quite don’t understand is, why would the law make so that yes, could be separated due to this traumatic event but not make it where there could be an opportunity for them to come back together again as brothers and sisters?

TODD: Well I want to see a mechanism built into this type of thing where if something like this happens, like an automatic opportunity comes up where when they are eighteen, to have a opportunity to maybe blindly, reach out through an attorney to have the opportunity to reunite. Now, I have not seen a lot of people who were interested in that I brought up to you. There should be some type of mechanism that should be created for this special situation but its like well, this is the way it is and there is really nothing you can do about it. That was basically the way it was put to me when I was prying around into it. But when there is a will, there is a way. If you saw Alan the way he was and the suffering that he was continuing to suffer. He was still a fifteen year old boy suffering when I first spoke with him and it had just never ended, and in some ways it never will end. There was no way I could to say to him, too bad, just deal with it. I couldn’t do that and I know that there are other people out there dealing with this.

ALAN: Oh yeah, when stuff like that happens to a person, and I don’t care what kind of abuse it is. There is no abuse greater than another abuse. It all affects people differently. You can’t say that physical abuse is worse than sexual abuse or that mental abuse is worse than physical abuse. What makes this sad is the level this is given.

TODD: You endured it all; you endured all types of abuse.

ALAN: Right.

TODD: And you're saying there is nothing so greater than the other?

ALAN: Right, because each one affects a person differently. When a person goes through that, they have to live with it for the rest of their life. Yes, it gets easier and easier as time goes on but actually sitting here and saying time heals all things, well time just makes scars instead of open wounds. You can look at a scar and see its there but it don’t hurt anymore. For people that are going through any type of abuse, that is the best advice, I can give them.

TODD:  To reach out.

ALAN: Yes, reach out and help people that are going through it. Be open about it, don’t try to hide it and be honest with yourself and everybody that’s around you. Another thing I’ve noticed talking about abuse is there is a lot of people, a lot of people that don’t want to hear it or they don’t want to believe it is happening.

TODD: You think maybe your mom did that?

ALAN: Yes. People just want to think that this world is a perfect world and there is no way their next door neighbor may be doing something to their children. That’s just the way people are and then there are other people who will listen to you. Another thing is the stories that you tell about what you’ve endured, sometimes you have to watch on how much information you give because when you tell a story of great sadness it can have an impact on the person you're telling it to. Sometimes giving a smaller picture of what happened is better than giving the big picture because not everyone is able to handle that much information.

TODD: That’s true, because it took several phone calls before I could take this all in. It was just an unreal amount of data. The story he was telling me was almost unbelievable. In looking back at some of the newspapers it didn’t give the exact thing that had happened but I knew it was real, I knew he was real. There was just no doubt about it. You have talked to somebody, now you’ve meet April?

ALAN: Right.

TODD: Ok now, where did you meet April?

ALAN: I met her in Mufreesboro.

TODD: You moved to Murfreesboro because your mother had moved away. How did you end up meeting her?

ALAN: I moved to Murfreesboro because my mom was sick a lot and I decided to move closer to where she was. She was my upstairs neighbor's friend in the apartment complex that I lived in and that’s where I meet her.

TODD: She's a really nice lady and she was certainly willing to accept you and I think you’ve both accepted a lot from each other. When you told her your story, and she knew your story before you got married.

ALAN: Right.

TODD: How did she feel about that?

ALAN: She thought I was lying to her, until she meet my family and other people who were there when stuff took place, then she knew I was telling her the truth. Then it was like wow.

TODD: Why was it so hard for her to believe? Was it because there was just so much?

ALAN: Because it was so much. She thought I was just making up a story, and she though I was just wanting people to feel sorry for me, and that was not the case.

TODD: Have other people reacted that way to you?

ALAN: Yes, I have had other people react that way to me but the thing is, I tell my story and the reason why I tell it is to help other people. If people don’t believe me, well then that’s their own fault.

TODD:  Now I wanted you to have an opportunity to tell this story in the way that you have. You were able to tell it in a nut shell. You were at least able to touch on all areas of this story. I think if anybody was able to hear it, they will know what kind of abuse that you guys grew up with. Eric, I know its been a wild story but have you got any questions? I kind of lived part of this with you over the past few years.

ERIC: How long have you two been in contact with each other?

TODD: Probably since 2003 or 2002, I think. It's been less than a year when we were finally able to find somebody physically that was able to use some locating skills to find people. I thought the state route was the best. I wrote some letters and actually spoke to an attorney in town who actually handled that case and everybody mentioned that guy's name. They stopped dead in their tacks.

ERIC: Really?

TODD: Yeah, it was just like, What? They didn’t even want to talk about that. So he must have just really scared them. I am not going to give up on this because of this thing with July 1, 1997 and you're not allowed to be listed as a sexual offender, because it is confidential and he is out walking around. You know, obviously he is a danger. It is just not acceptable. We might employ some of our listeners, at some point in time, to help us with this type of thing. Obviously there is predator out there. His mother has to list as a sexual offender. My God think about it, both of them should have to list as an offender.

ERIC: My questions is, before you heard about Todd, had you done any investigations on your own?

ALAN: Oh yes, I had written several letters to the Department of Children’s Services. I had written letters to the adoption agency. I had even tried to get a judge to access the records. I even set there and told him, he could go through the records and mark out what he wanted and give me what he wanted me to read. I told them I didn’t want to know where they lived at. To me if I knew where they lived, which I still don’t because they were adopted together, other than the ones I am talking to, I know they live Liz. I know the vicinity, approximately where they live, I don’t know exactly where or anything.

TODD: He was doing the right thing. He was defiantly following a path and it just wasn’t a door that would open. He had an incredible amount of data, he had enough information that allowed us to take it forward and actually locate them.

ALAN: Before I meet Todd, I found out the family name and stuff like that and I was able to give that to Todd when I found out about him.

TODD: One of my Cold Cases members is actually a private investigator and she wanted to remain anonymous, but she gave me an address. I was using those people to help me pin point where they were. I did get a call, they were listening after all, and it was like, what are you doing? I spoke with some of the case workers that were in town and they understood why we were doing it but they were powerless to do it. I think they wanted us to get them together. At some level they were afraid of Alan’s dad. Anything that I was told was off the record. There was no way that they wanted anybody to be able to track it back to them and I think it was for fear of your father.

ERIC: What kind of fear did he hold over them? Was it a fear of being sued or was it a fear of violence or was he just that terrible of a person?

ALAN: He was just that terrible of a person.

TODD: I think they saw the violence he had put on these kids.

ALAN: They saw what went on; they were spoken to about it. I could walk into Department of Children’s Services right now and as soon as somebody recognized me, their going to run back and get the lady in charge and she is going to stop me before I can get through the front door.

ERIC: Really?

ALAN: Yes.

TODD: That’s why I didn’t believe it was that hard for him to get this information. Honestly Eric, I thought he just didn’t know how. I really did, and then I saw what he had been up against. What he was trying to do there was just no way. A lot of these people were put between a rock and a hard place. I knew if we did what the law allowed him to do that we were not going to get anywhere. He wasn’t allowed to know where his siblings was. Yet, his father is allowed be free right now and not on the sexual offender list. I think this leveled the playing field a little bit. I think it was only fair he knew where his siblings were at. They needed to reconnect with each other. What if one of them encountered there father, they needed to share information a little bit. You know there was that moral issue, am I going to do the right thing here? Is it right to do this? In talking to them I didn’t feel a moment's guilt but I didn’t know if it was going to create a problem for them. I didn’t know if it was going to cause a great controversy for him because I didn’t know if his family was going to welcome him. That was the scary part and if I felt like that in the first phone call I made to him, I would have never of told him. I would have tried to come up with another plain to work on it but they defiantly wanted to talk to him. We even had reporter, we looked at Geneva on the lake and that was I think in Ohio.

ALAN: Right

TODD:  And they actually lived there in an Amish community at one point in time.  It was a near Amish community, was it?

ALAN:  Probably was.

TODD:  I think that's where he was kind of getting interested in that group.  The reporter came down from that area and he actually did a whole story on one of the sisters up there and we've got to include it on the website but he didn't catch.  It's supposed to be part of the net to bring them to us, but we had to manually go out pick them and bring them back.  But it did bring the brother in from Texas and the internet bring the aunt back in.  And hopefully we can reassemble this family and maybe they can deal with their family and maybe they can deal with their father.  Because with all my heart I believe he's going to have to deal with this man at some point in time.  I just hope he's strong enough to be able to do that.  Knowing morally, Alan's strong enough.  But, you know I don't know what this man's capable of.

ERIC:  How old is he at this time, about 50 or 60 years old?

ALAN:  Yes, he's in his late 50's right now.

TODD:  Still very capable of problems.  He can still can definitely inflict a lot of problems on this family.  And I just don't think that short time in prison fully rehabilitated him.

ERIC:  Well let me ask you this.  The courts don't feel that he's a threat to the community because he served his time?

TODD:  You know that's the sexual offender register actually was coming in to existence.

ERIC:  I understand that, we're talking about his family not knowing where he's at.

TODD:  See, I don't think they reviewed it.  This is one of the things.  I think they stopped at that date,   instead of reviewing it when he got, should he actually be considered a threat?  I think he just fell in to the that niche in between the dates.  And nobody's asked, so he's just not going to be included.

ERIC:  Or the corrections systems don't feel an obligation to let his family know where he's at.  I'm not saying anybody, but I'm talking about his family.

TODD:  Apparently not.

ALAN:  The only way I knew anything about it, I see him around or something like that.  That's the only way I can get an indication of where he's at.

TODD:  That's just not enough.

ALAN:  No.

TODD: I don't think it's enough.

ALAN:  Then it's too late.

TODD:  Actually, luckily is back.  He lives very near to me now.  I'm hoping to enjoy spending some time with him and his family over the coming months.  He's back in a nearby neighborhood.  And actually what's the name of the street you live on?

ALAN:  Maranatha Lane.

TODD: Maranatha Lane.  Ironically you moved back here from quite a ways a way.  Near Nashville.  You moved back over from probably a hundred miles.  And that's one of his sister's names.  Ironically, I think that's was a sign to him.  The place they picked out had the name, and that's not a common name.

ERIC:  Well, Alan this is quite a story.  It really is.  It's not just a story.  We're talking about real life changing experiences.  It's had a profound affect on you, your whole family.  You said there were 12 of you?

ALAN:  Right.

ERIC:  Ok.  You don't hear about that large of a family suffering that much, over such a long period of time.  Yet, being able to come through this with still the attitude and the strength to want to locate each another.  I've heard you say with the younger ones you just haven't and you're going to permit them the opportunity of wanting to contact you.

ALAN:  Right.

ERIC:  But at some place along the line, I don't know.  You might have to go ahead and break the ice with them.  You'll need to make that decision yourself.  Anyway, what I did want to say is that I want to thank you for having come on and sharing your story.

TODD: He's a brave man.

ERIC:  (agrees)

TODD:  You know he's really got a strong character.

ERIC:  Yes, to have lived with the thoughts that I'm going to find out where everybody is.   What was it fifteen, sixteen years later?  When you were finally able to make contact.  You know with some of your family members, that's a long time to be separated.

ALAN:  It's been a long time.  But as far as me trying to….for me to break the ice to the younger people.  I want to do that.  But I got other ones that will do that for me.

TODD:  You're sister living there; I think they'll take care of that for you.  They'll give you that opportunity.  To make that happen.

ALAN:  Right.  I don't want to sit there and cross any lines in which I know in my heart and also talking with the ones I can talk to.  They sit there and say "You know, their all more than likely going to contact you" Sooner or later they will.

ERIC:  Well, Todd I'd like to give you an opportunity right now if there's anybody out there that's listening that would like to give you information, that you might actually be able to convey to Alan.  If you can even give them your website or email contact.  Where to contact.

TODD:  Well of coarse they can contact me through and my contact information is there is any of them have heard this and want to come back through other people that were in their lives were less behind and might have a missing piece, because I'm sure they have encountered people along the way that might have suspected.  And it might help put things back together for Alan.

ALAN:  Yah and I will try to get with Todd and I'll post my number on his site.

ERIC: Okay.

TODD:  Yah, I think he's ready for that now to actually put his real number on the site and be ready to be more open about hearing from people and I have a lot of pictures we're going to put, there for people to take a look at.  Thanks for being here with us Alan.

ALAN:  Alright, thank you.

ERIC: I want to thank you both of you.  I want to let our listening audience know come on back for next Tuesday, we have more for you.  Gentlemen I want to say goodnight.

If you have any information on this case
Please use click this link below:


Missing Pieces is a weekly 1 hour Public Service Announcement brought to you by

Missing Pieces comes to you in the form of a Internet Radiocast / PSA
as well as a resource / archive located at
that is produced and maintained by

All production efforts, services and web space are donated by
the above entity on a voluntary basis.
Guest: John "Alan" Tate
Looking into these innocent eyes and smiling faces,
one might never guess what  lies beneath.
Missing Pieces would like to thank the following for their support:
Pastor Wayne Fitzpatrick and Eric Meadows with
Aired: December 26, 2006
Survivor - Message In The Bottle
Special Thanks to
Jerri Denise Hickman
with Jerri's Blog and
ColdCases Group Member
for her help in transcribing this episode!

To Whom It May Concern,

"This is a short story of my life, me and my five brothers' and six sisters were physically, mentally, and sexually abused by my father. Most of our lives, we lived in a tent, in the woods across most of the USA. Some of us were even born in tents. We had to live off the land to survive. After ten years, we moved into a home in Muddy Pond, Tennessee. We had no running water, no electricity."