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-Staff of Missing Pieces

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(Introduction to show begins)

ERIC MEADOWS (WCAN Co-host):  Good evening and join us here for another episode of Missing Pieces hosted by Todd Matthews and myself Eric Meadows.  I would like to welcome Todd here tonight and Todd you have a guest with you, why don't you introduce him to our audience.

TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host):  Good evening everybody we have Doug French tonight.  He is a spokesman for the Waters' family.  Tonight's episode is called Searching for Anna Christian Waters.  Anna was only five years old when she vanished from her home in her California backyard.  Welcome Doug, how are you?

DOUG FRENCH (Guest): Hello Todd, glad to be here. 

TODD:  So how long have you been working on this case?

DOUG:  Well I personally have been working on the case for approximately two years so the family obviously has been looking for actually 34 years.  It was 34 years to date that she disappeared.

TODD:  Good anniversary date for this then.  A lot of times we try to work on that and pick a special date for the family.  1973.

DOUG: Yep.  It was 1973.  It has been a long time and unfortunately for a lot of those years, not a lot of progress had been made.  It wasn't until recently that we started re-investigating it and come up with some exciting stuff but obviously we want to cover some foundation before we start getting to the most recent information. 

TODD:  So she is five years old and I've got a really good description of her:  White female, blond hair, brown eyes.  Got a good clothing description and I'm actually looking at the links.  You have like nine different places where you can go online and look at some of the links and we will have it linked to the website.

DOUG:  No so far all that has happened is well until we started our most recent push here in the last couple of years all we could really compare is that she was gone.  And that obviously is not much of an answer to the family and they have learned to survive in a basically, a comfortable numbness with it but that is always in the back of their mind.  That’s one of the reasons I got involved with it a two years ago.

TODD: How did you actually end up…because you're the spokesman for the family, you did most of the conversing?

DOUG:  Yep.

TODD: How did this happen?

DOUG:  Well I actually met the family about a year after Anna disappeared. I met actually Anna's half brother, Nonda through the high school and I also met her other half brother Edward, or Eddie as we called him back then, and we were teenagers attending high school together and just during conversations it had come up but it didn't come up an awful lot over the years because obviously it was a sore subject with the family.  Something that was my part I would want handled delicately and perhaps the most delicate thing to do at the time would just to not bring it up.  But it was always been something that has been sticking in my mind since I originally heard the story in '74 and '75.

TODD:  So you've been involved in this for the last 30 years now?

DOUG:  We'll I've been aware of it.  It was just something that was sitting in the back of my psyche.  But it was just recently in the last couple of years that I actually stepped forward and have been helping the family in trying to provide some answers for them.  Perhaps before we get into what we have done recently I should go ahead and go over the details of actually the disappearance.  What we 100% positively know and that is that on January 16th in '73 in was a very bad weather day and there was a heavy rain the area and the property that the family lived on contained a creek that ran through the property that was actually at flood level.  And normally it was very mild meandering creek but it was actually a ranging torrent on that particular day.  Anna got home from kindergarten at approximately 12:30, changed her clothes, went outside to play, and it was a rural area where playing alone outside was not uncommon or unsafe.  No one would ever have thought that there would have been any safety issues involved there. 

TODD:  Especially at that time period.

DOUG:  Oh yes.  I've been back to the place in recent years to see the area, to get a feel for it and it really was quite beautiful and peaceful.  So there would be absolutely no reason to suspect anything to be out of the ordinary as far as letting her go outside on her own.  Well they had friends over and were…  When I say they I should explain, Anna's mother who's name is Michaele but she goes by Mikie so I'll refer to her as Mikie here because that is just how I know her as, her stepfather who is Joe, and then a couple of friends, one who lives in a house on the same property, and then another one who is a friend of Joe's, a co-worker of Joe's.  They were all sitting around having coffee and actually the co-worker of Joe went and showed up which was about 15 minutes before they noticed Anna was in fact disappeared.  Anna was in the front yard playing and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  About 15 minutes later they noticed that there was no sound coming from the front yard and just as a precaution started looking around for her and she was gone.  There was no clue as far as what had happened.  Nothing left behind, just as if she had vanished.  Now because of the creek that had been running so high the family had immediately started searching the creek thinking that perhaps she had fallen in and after awhile of not being able to find her they called the local law enforcement which in that area is unincorporated through San Mateo County Sheriff.  This is an area of Half Moon Bay which was about 30-40 miles south of San Francisco, right on the coast side.  Well when the sheriff got there they also focused on the creek and in fact focused on the creek for a couple of days thinking that she had fallen in and searching it to see if…well after a couple of days obviously you would have been searching for a body.  But immediately they were searching to see if maybe she was stuck on a tree somewhere and holding on waiting to be saved.  They never found anything at all to indicate that she had in fact gone in to that creek and having returned there recently and seeing the vegetation that existing along the creek it is virtually impossible that she went in there and wasn't caught up in some sort of vegetation or snagged where once the water level went down her body would have been found.  I'm absolutely convinced that the creek is not what happened there.  But unfortunately that what the focus for the first several days and actually the first couple of weeks. 

TODD:  But do you have any idea of how they actually searched the water?  Did they put up maybe a barricade down stream or just river bank search, dragging?

DOUG:  Well it was actually pretty much all the above.  I don't believe that there was a barricade put in.  And where she, if she, had gone into the creek there at the property that was probably 2 to 3 miles from where the creek emptied into the ocean.

TODD:  Oh ok.

DOUG:  And there was so much vegetation that it was virtually impossible for her to have made it that far down.  So a barricade wouldn't…

TODD: And even if she had that close to the ocean it would have been rapid with the creek up?

DOUG:  Correct.  So they did searches.  The law enforcement did searches for about a week.  The family continued on for a long period after that.  In addition to actually searching the shore, as soon as the creek level went down, family members in particular Joe the stepfather traveled the entire length of the creek in scuba gear looking under every snag, under every log, any place that a body could possibly be caught and that did not produce anything.  Local explorer scouts, the police scouts ended up…

TODD:  I think Eric is trying to interrupt us here.  What Eric?

ERIC:  We have a caller. 

TODD:  Ok good. 

ERIC:  Go ahead caller.  Ok, it seems as though the caller hung up.  Maybe they will call back again.  I'm sorry go ahead.

TODD:  That's ok you have to yell out we get excited. 

DOUG:  Actually on my end its coming in very quiet with Eric there I thought it was interference and I was trying to ignore it.  I'm sorry Eric I'll try to pay more attention next time.  So as a result a lot of time was spent looking at what seemed to be the most obvious answer that she had fallen into the creek.  Unfortunately when it was discovered that she had not fallen into the creek valuable time had been lost in looking at the other options and at the point we were looking at some sort of abduction.  And as a result valuable clues and perhaps an immediate solution to the issue were missed because all of the effort was focused on what seemed to be the most logical answer at that time. 

TODD: And it is currently today classified as a random stranger abduction by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is that correct?

DOUG:  Yeah I believe the exact definition or designation for it is probable stranger abduction.  Now I'm not sure that is completely accurately and I'll explain that. 

(Break in program due to large volume of online traffic)

DOUG:  I had a suspicion that we might have so many listeners checking in that there might be some technical issues.

TODD:  Well we sent a lot of invitations and you have to so we out did ourselves I think.

DOUG: I think so.

TODD:  And my sister-in-law tuned in for the first time tonight I think she now broke it.  So if you are listening, it's your fault Shirley.  Go ahead Doug we want quality time.

DOUG:  So basically the first few weeks were spent looking for Anna as a drowning victim in the creek and things that could have possibly led to a quick resolution of this case were not looked at until they had started to get cold.  And one of the strongest things that once it started to be looked at as an abduction was the fact that Anna's birth father who was named George Waters was a physician in San Francisco and he and Anna's mother had divorced several years earlier, shortly after Anna was born.  He was quite simply a very, very odd character and had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and had hooked up with an even odder gentleman named George Brody who we refer to those two as the 2 Georges and we will probably use that short hand here during the course of the session.  The 2 Georges actually were both probably paranoid schizophrenic; George Waters definitely and George Brody probably.  Brody was in fact a self title guru who some how latched his claws into Waters and basically took over his entire life as far as…even down to how he dressed.  George Waters was told how to dress.  When he wrote letters to his family, George Brody dictated it to him.  There was just a very odd relationship between these two men.  That was one of the main factors leading to the separation and the eventual divorce between Anna's mother and George Waters.  Now because these two were so weird they obviously became prime suspects and the law enforcement looked into them.  And law enforcement admitted that they were quite far weird enough to have done anything but they were never able to determine anything to directly link them to Anna's disappearance.  Now with law enforcement having run into a dead end and that pretty much for that period is the end of law enforcement's involvement.  They occasionally did some things over the next 30 years but for all intended purposes they reached a dead end and it was up to family to continue on.  So one of the things the family did is they hired a private investigator.  Actually a pretty famous private investigator by the name of Tink Thompson, Josiah "Tink" Thompson who has worked on some extremely high profile cases over the years and when I say high profile I'm talking about the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Oklahoma City bombings, cases of that level.  As a matter of fact, he is one of the experts as far as the Kennedy assassination; original people published detailing what the thought was a conspiracy and that.  So we are talking about a very, very experienced high level investigator.  He also looked into the 2 Georges and came to the exact same conclusion, that they couldn't find anything to link them to it but they certainly were crazy enough to have been involved.  And unfortunately that's pretty much where the case sat for 30 years and that 30 year gap is pretty much where I came involved here. 

TODD:  But now the father, the birth father, he actually committed suicide did he not?

DOUG:  Oh yes.  What happened eventually is in 1981, Christmas eve, George Brody, the older man, the guru, he passed away from cancer.  He had been under the care of George Waters for several years at that point, he passed away.  And then approximately two weeks later George Waters, committed suicide.  Some of the details about them that I didn't, I guess we only have a half hour so I don't want to cover this if I can't.

TODD:  We go the time.

DOUG:  Ok.  George Brody, we always felt has been kind of the Rosetta Stone of this thing.  If we could ever figure out who George Brody is, I think we'd have a good idea of what may have happened to Anna.  Now Brody, as best we can construct, never held a job, had no sort of paper work, the only official paperwork we've ever been able to discover for him was his death certificate.  No birth certificate, no social security number, no record of any next of kin, no checking account, or anything like that.  We eventually discovered that he did have a safe deposit box filled with $17,000.00 worth of cash that with no means of income puts the real question of where that $17,000.00 came from.  But he's a complete mystery man.  We really haven't been able to figure out where he came from.  And his name was not George Brody but that's what he was known as.  We did find instances of him using various aliases for minor things but he did seem to go by George Brody primarily. 

TODD:  So quite literally it hit a dead end at that point in time when both of these men passed away as far as their connection?

DOUG:  Right, obviously if they were alive or even at this point if George Waters were alive there would be…I'd really want to get some information out of him if that were possible.  But with their deaths in the early '80's that whole part of the investigation kind of came to a dead end as you say except one aspect and that is that when George Waters died, George Waters' brother received all of his personal papers which eventually were given over to Anna's mother.  And we have jokingly referred to this collection if papers as the box from hell.  We don't use that lightly.  It is literally as you look into it looking into the mind of crazy people.  All the personal writings and it is very dark with distinct spiritual over tunes when you attempt to delve into it.  But those personal papers have been able to flush out some information about the time periods that we were interested in.  Some of it as mundane as checking accounts and bills and such, but it has also yielded some other important information which I'll get back to but we'll cover how I got involved because it relates to eventually that information.  How I became involved again here in the last couple of years is, actually about ten years ago I suspect your listeners are more astute in the missing persons cases then your average person on the street and probably are familiar with a case of a young lady by the name of Sharon Marshall or Sharon Davis.

TODD:  Oh yes I think quite a few of us are very astute and the book…Matt Birkbeck wrote the book A Beautiful Child and I actually consulted with him on that book.  So it's an excellent book.

DOUG:  Yes wonderful book and by far the main resource for information on that case.  Well I happened to see about ten years ago on I believe it was Unsolved Mysteries, a brief covering of that case; a brief story on that case.  And I really didn't know that much at that time about Anna's disappearance other than what I remembered from 20-25 years earlier.  But as I looked at it I said this looks like it could be related I wonder if this is Anna?  Well at that point I didn't really have access to more information other than what was on the TV show so I just kind of put it in the back of my mind and moved on with life.  Well about two years ago I happened to just be goofing off at work to be honest and jumping around the websites and I came across the Doe Network which I was unfamiliar with at the time and I think you are probably familiar with them too.  As a matter of fact I saw that your website has eventually merged with them and you’re the Lost and the Found, is that correct?

TODD: Yes, I am on the administrative staff at the Doe Network.

DOUG:  Oh you are, great.   So I found the Doe Network and unfortunately there's literally thousands of cases listed on there and I just randomly clicked on one case just out of the blue and that one case that I clicked on happened to be Sharon Marshall.  And as a result I'm like, "My goodness this is the same, exact case I remember from 10 years ago.  If this isn't I don't know what signs are."  So I now had access to a bunch more information about that case and as a result I started looking into Anna's case, what was available online at the time and comparing the two.  And enough of the information lined up that Anna could possibly be Sharon Marshall that I decided that I would contact Anna's mother Mikie who I had been friendly with and had known obviously for 30 years but really hadn't been in contact much in that last 10 years.

TODD:  Are you in the same town with Mikie?

DOUG:  No but we both live in Northern California but about 100 miles away from each other. 


DOUG: She's continued to live in the same town or the same general area of where Anna disappeared. Athens Bay area.  So when I contacted her to be blunt, I was scared to death because I didn't know what level of…I have to pick my words carefully here because I really…the words that come to mind aren't correct.  There is a level of numbness that I think someone in that situation comes to that allows them to continue and function.  I don't want to say that things have healed because there is still a wound there but it's, I think just to survive a person has to come to a level of understanding and an acceptance of a particular situation.

TODD:  It's hard to bring it up sometimes.  I know exactly what you are talking about, trying to…your need to communicate with somebody about a specific case that involves them and you almost hate to bring it up.

DOUG: Absolutely.  But I actually…the reason I did eventually did decide to contact her is I discovered a online a letter to the editor where Mikie had conveyed a conversation that she had with Mark where in it she seemed to indicate that she would continue on forever, looking.  And I said well, ok then that sounds like the green light to me so I called her and we started talking about it and I asked her if she was familiar with the Sharon Marshall case which she was not.  And I suggested that she locate A Beautiful Child book and see if there was anything in there that looked like it could possibly be Anna.  Well she did and well she admitted a lot of the time frame did match up, she didn't see any resemblance is the pictures or any of the details in the book and did not think that Sharon Marshall was in fact Anna.  But that opened the door for me to be looking into other aspects of it.  One of the strange things is that this case has been plagued with amazing coincidences that have led us down the wrong path.  That if I had sat down and placed odds on any of this occurring I'd have never would have guessed it to have happened.  One of the strange things that occurred back when Anna was born is that at the insistence of the guru George Brody, Anna's middle name, well actually she had two middle names, she is known as Anna Christian Waters but her birth certificate was modified to add a second middle name which was Effie.  No excuse me, I'm sorry Effie.  And that was a nonsense name.  No one else in the world seemed to have that name and once I had discovered that had occurred it dawned on me that if she was out there today and had been taken by the 2 Georges, that name would probably be prominent in her existence today.  Obviously important enough to change her birth certificate so she could very well be using that name today.  So I started searching on that word, Effiee.  And low and behold, real quickly I came across a website where a person was using that word as there log in name and their email address and when I checked the profile for that the person's name was Anna.  And at the point I thought mystery solved.  We found her.  She's alive.  She's at this address.  I just have to contact her.  And then unfortunately the address, that particular address was not active, it had been a hotmail address that we eventually were able to contact her but it took several months to hunt down who had that.  And low and below, by pure coincidence many, many years after that name had been given to Anna, are you familiar with the Pokemon cards that were popular several years ago?

TODD:  Yes.

DOUG: Well low and behold there is a character in Pokemon with that name.  Well Pokemon didn't exist in 1967 when that name came up but again that is one of those strange coincidences that came up and it turned out that this girl when we finally found her was in fact instead of being a 38 year old Caucasian woman living somewhere in the United States, she turned out to be a 22 year old Chinese woman living in New Zealand and obviously not Anna.  And in fact her name wasn't even Anna it was Jo Anna but she put that down there as a protection for privacy on the Internet.  Pure coincidence.  We end up chasing that for months only to find out it had absolutely nothing to do with it.  But that occurred long enough to get me so deep into this thing that I've been involved ever since; for the last two years.  And so we eventually determined that Sharon Marshall was not Anna and that our big lead on finding Eifee was not Anna either.  But by that time we had found the Websleuth's.com site and decided that this may be a good way to include additional people and additional sources of research.  So we created a website on there and it has been an absolute godsend.  I know that there are other websites out there that do similar things and I'm just not familiar with them but this one has provided us with so much information and people that truly care about finding Anna that they dedicate hours each week into looking into various aspects of it and because of this website and the hard work that everyone has done out there, and I know that a lot of the people that have crossed the lines there awhile ago are Websleuth's people and thank you guys for everything that you have done, we've actually been able to uncover some stuff that really does point toward Anna being alive and moves it forward toward trying to find her. 

TODD:  Yeah right she's five years old, now you assure people and the two boys who were recently recovered this week in Missouri.  Obviously you know you hear the term Stockholm syndrome, have you heard that term?

DOUG: Yes.

TODD:  Where a person actually begins to relate with their capture and I don't know if that is what happened with these boys.  Of course not the most recently acquired boy but the one that had been there from 11 years old, that boy was really old enough to, you would think to actually make a break away, but he didn't.  And I think it's going to be some time before we are going to know the truth about it.  Now five years old with Anna, do you think she could have forgot?  Maybe even not know who she is?

DOUG:  Absolutely.  Are hope is that she has some level of memory of that period that she may not be able to explain but there is something in her memories that she has a question of why do I remember a different family?  Why do I remember a different place?

TODD:  Well that is going to be signs of a broken past.

DOUG: Exactly.

TODD:  And you know anybody that wants to look back into it harder enough you know now a days Google your own name in fact this week I had a lady that has done that and has found herself, I can't get into details with it now but it has happening and you would have to hope it'll happen in this case. 

DOUG:  Absolutely.

TODD:  It would be an ideal situation if someone could just bring their self back. 

DOUG:  Yeah well that's one of the things that we decided early on, we were spending so much time looking for Anna that it dawned on us that maybe what we needed to do was instead of looking for her make ourselves available for her to find us.  And as a result, if someone who is five years old doesn't have these memories, if she was old enough to have enough self awareness of her situation that there would had to have been some sort of reason given for this major change in her life.  Why she was with one group of people and then ended up with a different group of people.  And the most likely scenario is that she was told that she was adopted.  Perhaps told that her parents had died or any of the number of excuses that would explain this change but it would all center around being adopted.  So it dawned on us that we should be looking in adoption reunion websites to see if there was somebody out there that fit the bill and was looking for their family.  Well there is an awful lot of people out there that fit the bill when they are looking for their family and we had one in particular that I was very excited about.  We found someone who was born in San Francisco where Anna was born, on the same day, who was a white girl, with brown hair, and brown eyes.  And the description that you have earlier mentioned her having blonde hair, which her hair was blonde at the time she disappeared but the family has the genetic tendency for their hair to darken over the years and so as a result we are going on the premise that she probably has medium brown hair at this point. 

TODD: My sons were the same way.  They were blonde and have turned brown. 

DOUG: So we had a woman who fit the exact birth date, the exact birth place, and the physical description of Anna who was looking for her parents and it was here in Northern California.  Nothing is never simple on this case as I've discovered and as a result her contact information that she had posted on the site was out dated so I had to find her and it took several weeks trying to hunt her down.  But eventually located her and it turned out she had been adopted at birth.  She had not mentioned that in her post.  So it was not her, but this was after several weeks…even to the point of I had gone down to the town she lived in and been sneaking around outside, parking in front of houses where she supposedly lived trying to get a peek at her to see what she looked like.  There is a thin line between investigating and stalking. 

TODD:  That is exactly right.  I know where you are coming from with that.  I've had to slip in a few dark allies myself just for your own piece of mind when you're on a trail of something.  You really have to look and you don't mean to interfere with anybody's lives but you have to kind of take a look at things sometimes.

DOUG: As we spent the last couple of years doing it my own personal skills at discovering things about people via the Internet, I've always heard about how there is no privacy on the internet but I've really seen how that's the case now.  I have the ability whenever a name pops up in the course of this discussion or this investigation, within minutes we know family members, we know every address and its stunning how much information how much information is available to us with the internet. 

TODD:  I have people that know things about me before I knew it.  They will call you and tell you something that they seen on the internet that you weren't even aware of yet.

DOUG:  Oh geez

TODD:  A news article and you say "oh, I didn't even know they were doing that."  And it happens.  The internet has exploded; especially since the time I first got on to the net.  It was hard to find an online newspaper at the time in '95/'96 and now everything.  It's just a vast universe, literally.

DOUG:  And that is one of the reasons when we got back involved here in the last couple of years in looking into it we went with the idea of using the resources that were available now that weren't available 34 years ago.  The ability to check the entire world for someone named Effie.  The ability to access missing person's cases from, or for that matter, unidentified bodies, Jane Does from across the country, none of that existed 30 years ago.  Even for the law enforcement they didn't have the ability to access all that information. 

TODD:  It's rare to know anything right outside your world and we touched on this on this show before, to know anything if it was out of sight it was out of mind.  It just basically didn't exist at that time period.  You couldn't make communications with someone in another state that easily.  It was nearly impossible.

DOUG:  It is an amazing new world with the information tools that we have as long as we use them for good and not evil which seems to be an ongoing issue with the internet. 

TODD:  That's why we have to be here.  Those other people are going to be here so we have to be here too and we have to hang in here with it. 

DOUG: Well with using the internet and also with using the Websleuth's website we've actually been able to uncover, there's actually four different things that we've been able to uncover through actually not just those but all sorts of techniques, that tend to indicate that Anna is in fact quite possibly alive and out there to be found.  One of the things just because of the renewed interest in the case, Nonda is Anna's older brother and just recently in the last year he mentioned about something that he thought had been talked about at the time of Anna's disappearance but in fact no one recalled it.  It was that about one month before Anna disappeared the two brothers and Anna were walking on the street near their property when a couple in a car stopped and attempted to lure Anna into the vehicle and they were chased off basically by the older brother.  That obviously is very important information because if that occurred one month before she disappeared and four weeks later she disappears there is a pretty good chance that these people came back and completed the job. 

TODD: So he identified them as a male and a female both?

DOUG: Correct.  A male and a female.  So what that means is that number one you got two people who were living in an area close enough that they could return within a one month period.  Somebody passing through the area, traveling from San Diego to Seattle is not necessarily going to be coming back through a month later.  To me that tells me that these people were from Northern California somewhere.

TODD:  Does law enforcement have an opinion on some of this?  Or made any comments?

DOUG:  Well my most recent meeting with the detectives involved in this is that they were at that point they were just getting information.  So they really hadn't had a chance to review any of it.

TODD: And often enough they amateur is actually spending more time than law enforcement are able to. 

DOUG:  Oh absolutely. 

TODD: Far more often than not.  That happens but you know I've seen all the right moves on this case.  We are seeing NCIC number, we're seeing National Center for Missing and Exploited Children number, an agency case file number, so they have filed just about everything that could possibly be filed on this case as far as the paper work and follow up. 

DOUG:  Yes as a result of the things that we've uncovered, law enforcement has stepped back in and is very interested in the case which understandably for 30 years they had nothing to go on.  I've been preparing for this interview and I was reading up on your involvement in the Tent Girl case and I know there you mentioned or someone mentioned you had spent thousands of man hours getting the information necessary to go to law enforcement with what you had and its been the same in this case.  And law enforcement just can't spend 500 to a 1,000 man hours on one case.

TODD:  No it's impossible.  It's literally impossible.

DOUG: Right.  So that's where the value of the amateur sleuths are. 

TODD:  But in all fairness to everybody else because this law enforcement officer and I know that sometimes they are accused of and sometimes rightly accused of not making proper follow up on a case but you know when you have so many people; its really hard, especially with the older cold case that…they fall into the cracks.  Fair or not, the more immediate issues take presidence. 

DOUG:  Sure.  When I first got into this I was rather frustrated with the local law enforcement.  The level of commitment that I was expecting out of them that truly isn't reasonable.

TODD:  We'll if I had known the odds when I was working on some of the stuff that I was working on, I probably wouldn't have continued.  I probably would have thought it was insurmountable and would not have continued.  So sometimes it's good to go into it with that mind set that you've gone off, and you're going to do it and you know you just might.  Just because of that.  Ignorance is bliss.

DOUG: The combination of tenacity and naivativity or lack of knowledge of what is going on worked well for us I guess.  Obviously that was a big issue with discovering this that gave us our first plausible explanation of what happened to Anna.  Because literally for 30 years it was a case of she was here and then she was gone.  Before discovering this any explanation was as reasonable as anything else.  Alien abduction was just as reasonable as anything else as that point.  Just because there was nothing.  So that gave us our first clue of what we were looking at.  And because it was, oh and I forgot to mention this, because it was a couple that opened up the possibility, though its not impossible, that tended to push out thoughts away from idea that perhaps being a lone predator and moving more since it was a couple, more likely that it was a family that was looking to get a daughter.  We haven't necessarily found anything to verify that but it just seems much more plausible and likely that would be the scenario then something of a predator of a sexual nature.

TODD:  Well literally the sky is the limit because every case, you know even the most recent case, who would have thought that a person…that those boys were kept so close to where they were abducted.  You just have no clue of what might happen in a case like that.  And her not been properly aware of who she even is at this point in time.  I often encourage people to have a little doubt of their past, maybe to Google their self to see if anyone is looking for them.  And it's happened.  I know a couple of cases that it's happened.  That they actually found hey somebody is still looking for me so hopefully people out there will do that.  Do you feel like Anna is still alive?

DOUG:  I do. 

TODD: And her family, how do they feel?

DOUG:  The mother is very pragmatic.  Mikie is pragmatic.  I think that she would probably just say I do not know.  As best that I could recall when that question has been posed to her recently that has been her answer.  And I think it's because she has looked at so many things over the years that she doesn't want to shut any possibility out.  As far as her main motivation is to find out an answer and to be honest if the answer is that Anna was no longer with us after 24 hours after she disappeared, we would like to find that out.  That is the goal.  Now personally I think that we can find her.  And to be honest we may have found her.  We are looking into some real exciting stuff here but I'll go ahead and get into that…I'll go ahead and lead up to the information before we get to that point.  One of the other things that we discovered, again going back to the father and the guru, when going through the personal papers we discovered a note that when finally deciphered is some sort of something that they referred to as "the plan" and it involved getting insurance policies that were…there were actually several policies that had been taken out on George Waters, the father with George Brody as the beneficiary.  And that had been going on since the late '60's.  But we had found a note where there was some sort of insurance policy being taken out where the beneficiary would be listed as Anna and in particular it talks about making final arrangements involving this and it has the note January 1973.  Now as a result of whatever it is that was going to occur on January 1973 that was going to allow the 2 Georges to change the beneficiary from Anna to Brody, the guru.  Now out of all of that the big thing that jumps out is the January 1973; that is when Anna disappeared.  So this note was written sometime prior to January '73 and I'm talking about an event that was going to occur that would allow them to get a policy first off in Anna's name and then after January '73 be able to switch the beneficiary.  This whole thing could quite simply be nothing more than a financial plot involving these two and the taking of Anna.  Now this could be separate from or in conjunction with the idea of this couple taking Anna.  We are not sure, we have not been able to draw any connections between this couple and the 2 Georges, but because so little is known about these two, we can't rule it out either.

TODD:  A lot of speculation in a case like this.

DOUG:  Yeah and this is not a smoking gun but it’s a smoldering gun.  It's something to smoke.  Is it pointing us in the right direction?  And it does stand out as something very, very odd by some people who were very odd that tend to point to that they had some knowledge of something going to occur in January of '73 that would allow them to do this and Anna's disappearance would allow them to change beneficiaries. 

TODD:  Well I'm reading that Waters reportedly said, her father, "I'm glad the tot is dead."

DOUG:  Yeah during the period after law enforcement had dropped out of the investigation, Joe, Joe Ford who was the stepfather was like most people convinced that the 2 Georges were involved. 

TODD:  So he did some little detective work himself then?

DOUG: Oh yeah and actually a little amazing detective work.  He actually went undercover, under a fake name and rented the hotel room next to where the 2 Georges lived.  That is one of the odd things about their relationship, is we had a doctor here who actually held at least 2 and up to 4 jobs at any particular time.  I've seen his tax returns and in the early to mid 70's was making $75,000 which was very good money even in San Francisco in that time and was living in a tenement hotel for literally $75.00 a week or something like that.  He lived in a very odd area and I think it was because most of the money was ending up going to George Brody, the guru.  But in this tenement hotel Joe Ford rented the room next door and was keeping an eye on them to the point of literally, and the statute of limitations is over on this so I can talk a little freely about it, drilling a hole in the wall and dropping a microphone into the other room to get recordings of their conversations. 

TODD:  But he sort of did something to kind of tease them to actually have a conversation first.

DOUG: What he did was he sent a letter that only very thinly came right up to the point but not quite of accusing them of being involved just to see what the reaction would be.  And the reaction was George Waters made the comment "I'm glad the tot is dead" and then he tore the letter up.  In fact after his death that letter was discovered in a safe deposit box; that was one of the few items that was still left in the safe deposit box. 

TODD: Now does Anna's mother…I'm reading that Anna's mother doesn't believe her husband has anything to do with the disappearance.  Was that her husband at the time or her former husband? 

DOUG:  That's the former husband.

TODD: Waters?

DOUG: Waters.  Yes.

TODD:  Is that still true today? 

DOUG: She doesn't, no.  Again, I think she is open to the possibility but…

TODD:  She's not shutting any doors is she?

DOUG:  Right.  She doesn't want to commit, yes he did it, no he didn't do it.  Just doesn't know.  And I think she's to be honest, kind of leaving it up to the rest of us that are investigating this to go ahead and pursue it.  She is not opposed to us looking into it by any stretch because she admits that he's capable of anything but capable and guilty are two different things.

TODD:  Well before we do run out of time, we still have a little bit to go, can you give us some contact information so if any of our listeners have a tip on this case.  And we'll have extensive links to a lot of this information on the website, Missing Pieces. Info but who would they call San Mateo County Sheriff's Office…?

DOUG:  You can call them.

TODD: And that is (650) 364-1811

DOUG: Correct and if you just refer to Anna Christian Waters it will get to the proper people there. 

TODD: And obviously if anybody contacts the station or meets at the website, we are definitely going to get that information to them and I'm sure you can pass along the information.  How would you prefer we get in touch with you?

DOUG:  Let me go ahead and give a phone number for myself here…

TODD:  Ok.

DOUG:  And in fact I would probably prefer that people call me first before we call the law enforcement unless they are absolutely opposed to that idea.

TODD: We always try to give both options so you know a paranoid person may not want to take the more direct route but definitely as many choices as we have, so if you can give your contact information.

DOUG:  Sure.  My phone number is (916) 370-2150.

TODD:  And I certainly trust that you will pass information along to the proper authorities.

DOUG:  Absolutely.

TODD: I had a lot of conversations with you and seen a lot of the stuff you've worked on.  I have full confidence that you'll do that.  So today, I mean, how many people do you think are out there like this that are possibly still alive?  The number of the missing well out weighs the number of the unidentified.

DOUG:  Absolutely.

TODD:  You have to consider the possibility that a lot of them are still alive. 

DOUG: We've looked at the various statistics involved and for a true non-family abduction the odds are not good.  We don't consider this to actually be a true non-family abduction because personally I believe the father was involved in it.  And while the father and his guru were weird, they are not necessarily evil to that point as far as doing harm to Anna.  I just don't see that being the case.

TODD: Maybe some sort of transaction?

DOUG:  Perhaps.  I think they could dilute themselves in believing that they were actually doing Anna a favor by taking her away from the mother and placing her wherever. 

TODD: Because we don't know where Brody came from.

DOUG: Absolutely. 

TODD: Or what type of circle of people that he was actually a part of and I think that would be essential to dig into that a little deeper which you obviously know that.  Eric you've been very quite.  I hope we're still on the air. 

ERIC:  We are still on the air.

TODD:  I'm hoping you got some questions.

ERIC:  I have listened to this and I got to tell you that when I'm listening and thinking about the 2 Georges and the first thing that comes to mind is what was the extent of the investigation or surveillance that was carried out on both of these Georges.  It is very difficult is have a child over a period of time and nobody every see that child actually out and about.  I take it that these 2 Georges were still carrying on their normal lives, as normal as they could be, normal to them.

DOUG:  Yes they were.  What our theory is if they were involved would not be that they took her and kept her.  That they would have in fact almost…well first off I when I say they took her, the general consensus of every one that knew them personally is that they, themselves would not be capable of it, they are both pretty much damaged goods as far as trying to pull off an actually physical abduction themselves.  But with George Brody in particular he was in a very bazaar way I guess charismatic and I might very well have convinced somebody else to have done it for them.  And then my thinking is that they would have immediately passed her off to some sort of family, some sort of relationship, some sort of follower of this guru, and had them raise Anna.  It's too unlikely that…they were watched too closely for them to have actually had possession of Anna.  And even though they were crazy I think they weren't so crazy as to not realize that they would become suspects at some point. 

TODD: And like you said maybe he'd possibly think they were doing a favor for her.

DOUG:  Exactly.  Yeah that would be my best guess on that.  If they were involved, they immediately passed her off.  And interestingly enough George Waters took off for about a week right after Anna disappeared and we've never been able to determine where he went or for that matter if Brody went with him. 

TODD:  And this is the point in time when they were checking the creek.

DOUG:  Exactly.  Again, there was no investigation into them until several weeks after the disappearance because it was at first investigated as a possible drowning. 

ERIC:  And that was my second question, I needed to know what the time line was between the time of her disappearing, their investigation of the creek and then when their attention turned to the 2 Georges.  You provided that for us.

DOUG:  Yes it was at least a couple of weeks after the disappearance.  And by that point wherever they had gone or wherever George Waters had gone, he had returned. 

ERIC:  Something else to be considered, during the time period were there any unidentified bodies found someplace within maybe a 200 mile radius that may have been or could have been Anna?

DOUG: There hasn't been any body, any unidentified female that would match the scenario of Anna abducted and very shortly murdered.  Or for that matter there has been no body found in the creek during the last 34 years too which I guess would also be an unidentified at that point.  There have been a few unidentified people that had she been alive for some period of time, traveled a long ways a way, and then were to fall under harm, that could possibly be her but that is a much less likely scenario that someone would keep her for a period of time and then murder her.  It's possible, again we don't want to rule out anything but nothing jumps out as a possible, as a real good candidate, as far as unidentified. 

TODD:  As the entered DNA into the national DNA database?

DOUG:  Actually as a result of the information we discovered we have just recently, they have taken sample from the mother and the two half brothers and also there were certain articles of clothing that had been not washed for 34 years.  In particular some bedroom slippers which by definition you usually will not have socks on with and they took that and are at this point developing a DNA profile for her based on both family DNA and also from DNA samples from Anna herself.

ERIC:  Now Doug I heard you talking about this that there is a chance that there maybe some of buried memories in somebody that would be 38 – 40 years old of the two families, of the two instances where there are two very important things that have happened in that persons life.  What are the chances and is the common stance that somebody would in fact remember and we're talking a 5 year old. 

DOUG: One of the topics on the Websleuth's site that we started was just to get a random sampling of people of what they remembered at age 5, to get a feeling for that.  Because I know for myself that was probably where I first started to have any memories at all that would carry on for the rest of my life.  I couldn't tell you anything when I was age 4 but at age 5 I started to have memories that have stuck. 

TODD:  Well school starts at that point in your life.

DOUG:  Exactly and what doesn't get factored into that random question is what happens if there is an extreme trauma such as a kidnapping that occurs at that time?  So we hope that some memories exist but how much we don't know.  With that X factor involved of traumatic event, how much prior to that traumatic event would continue on or would just get lost in the transition to the new environment of a new family and a whole different set of circumstances.  We really don't know.  It's right at the edge of when I think people start having those memories and that could very well have an effect of perhaps nothing being left over there other than just some deep seeded things that are unexplainable in there dreams or deep in their memories.

TODD:  Or if their in an adoption situation where they know this is not their birth parent to actually trace that route back because I've known several people that have been adopted that still actually want to trace back to find their roots and this would obviously be an obstacle if this person tried to trace back; to find her real roots.  She is going to hit a wall. 

DOUG: Well probably what will happen is I'm sure whatever scenario if in fact Anna is out there and thinking she is adopted, whatever circumstances she's been told can obviously not be the truth so yes, they would be going back to a certain point in their search and then running into a brick wall that would say "well gee, why can't I find out anything?"  Unfortunately she may at that point be saying well I guess I'll never know when in fact the details that she is not getting confirmation on may turn out to be completely false and there is a whole complete different set of facts that are true.  And that's why we are out there looking through those adoption websites. 

TODD:  Well every case has a unique set of circumstances and every adoption has a unique set of circumstances and that's what makes the cold cases cold cases because they have a difficult situation often.  Has Anna's mother ever prepared any type of statement or her family just to put out there?  What would you say to her if she were listening tonight?

DOUG:  Well the one thing that we've talked about, Anna's mother and myself is that Anna's mother wants to know that if we never find her that she turned, that she looked under every last stone.  That every last stone has been turned.  That has been our guiding philosophy in this whole thing.  We may never find her and I hope that's not the case and I believe that's not the case but that remains a distinct possibility.  So the message for Anna if she were out there listening today is to just know that the family has never stopped looking and they miss her as much today as they did the first week.  She is loved and if she is out there to be found, we're going to find her. 

TODD:  And she is welcome right?

DOUG:  Oh absolutely.

TODD: How about her stepfather?

DOUG:  Anna's mother and the stepfather are no longer married, probably somewhat from the stress of this whole situation.  They remained married for about 12 years after.

TODD:  And it happens too.  It destroys a lot of relationships.

DOUG:  Oh yes and Joe though he was not the biological father, was in every other sense Anna's father and he has been over the years actually quite heroic in the things that he has done.  When people would long have given up on the creek he was walking up and down it just whenever he had the time; swimming it in scuba gear.  Doing the surveillance on the 2 Georges.  He has actually done amazing amount of work and a lot of the stuff that we have discovered were actually built on the information that he had originally developed in the late '80's. 

TODD: Has he maintained interest in this case even though there has been a divorce?

DOUG:  Oh yes, absolutely.  I'm in contact with him regularly in addition to keeping him updated and he has provided whatever information that he can recall and is definitely still interested.

TODD:  That's very encouraging too, to see that they did a little beyond the divorce.

DOUG:  Oh yes.  Now one thing I eluded to and I want to go ahead and cover it here is that we currently have someone who fits virtually every criteria of what we think Anna would be today.

TODD:  Are you in communication with that person?

DOUG:  Yes we are and I can't go into a lot of details about her, for her privacy sake and like wise at the request of law enforcement the things that they're looking into but to put it bluntly we have somebody who is a virtual dead ringer for the age progression that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children put together.  Now being nearly a look a like…

TODD:  Not enough is it?

DOUG: is not enough.  There are a lot of people out there who look probably like her.

TODD: But circumstantially.  So you are in communication, you are not in the dark alley watching this person?  You are actually talking to her?

DOUG:  Absolutely.  But the resemblance is even down to the point of the placing of individual beauty marks on the face and she also says that she feels that…she knows she is adopted by…was adopted by a step parent but even the person that she knows as her birth mother she says, I don't resemble her, I don't feel that I'm part of the family, and interestingly enough there is absolutely no birth certificate on record for her. 

TODD: So there are going to be a few missing pieces in her tracking back her birth records which is a red flag.

DOUG:  Exactly.

TODD:  In this case.

DOUG: So we're doing everything we can to try to fill in the dots on that particular case and probably don't want to say more than that at this point. 

TODD:  Well I hope we can help you in any way possible with that and obviously if you have any break throughs with it of course we'll make a news flash about it on another show and we'll definitely want to have you back.  To talk about it again at some point in time and we are going to have a marathon in the future with it and we might get you to call in; a 24 hour marathon and hopefully invite a lot of people and maybe just for a few minutes each person we definitely want to try to hook as many people up as possible in that.  So that is definitely something we will keep you informed about and bring you in.  And Eric we've had a little bit of a break through on a former guest, can't say any more than that right now but obviously she is saying that the radio broadcast has actually helped bring some information to light that we're hoping is going to be a breakthrough that we can announce in a future broadcast. 

ERIC:  That's good to know.

TODD:  We've got our fingers crossed in that and it's good to feel like its doing some good and its making a positive impact and that’s the whole goal with this, to actually educate and hopefully even uncover a few facts. 

ERIC:  The program was actually brought together.  It really is to add closure to somebody's life.  There are victims out there and there are victim's families, and there are people that out right want to know, they want to know.  I find it hard to believe that the average human being here, today in America is just willing to drop a case just because it's not maybe related to them.  But when people actually hearing about them missing, and exploited, and murdered, individuals, both adults and juveniles it really is tugging at the heart strings.  It just brings in a wind right up to your front porch. 

TODD:  That's absolutely true.  It becomes an obsession.  If I just look a little harder or I put in a little more time maybe I can help a lot of people and that's the thought on a lot of people's mind. 

ERIC:  Gentleman I would like to thank each of you for having come on to the show tonight but despite all of out glitches that we've had we have gone over our time limit and I want to say good night to each of you, the clock on the wall says that all.

DOUG:  Ok well thank you very much, we really do appreciate it. 

ERIC:  It's been a pleasure having each of you, good night.

TODD: Good night.

DOUG:  Good night.

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Searching for Anna - the book chronicling a family's search for their missing daughter - is now available at:

Anna Christian Waters, a spirited five-year-old, disappeared from her California home January 16, 1973, and no trace of her was ever found. In Searching for Anna, Michaele Benedict, her mother, and Doug French, a family friend, describe the incredible efforts to find what became of Anna.

Please forward information about this book
to your friends and family.

Proceeds from the sale of the book are being used to finance the continuing search for the answers to what happened to Anna.

Someone, somewhere holds the key to this 35 year mystery
and can help bring Anna home.

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Guest: Doug French
Spokesperson for Waters' family
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Aired: January 16, 2007
Age Progressed Photo
Special Thanks to
Susan Malacari
with Doe Network and ColdCases Group
for her help in transcribing this episode!
Searching For Anna Christian Waters