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(Introduction to show begins)
TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host): I’m Todd Matthews. This is Missing Pieces, and tonight we have Janey Caravallo. I’m from the South so I’ve got a little different pronunciation for things. Welcome, Janey.
JANEY LEE CARAVALLO (Guest): Thank you so much for having me.
TODD: Well, I got an email from you and you told me a little bit about your brother and you did have a book, ‘Gilbert C, Hurry Home! I Just Want To Say I Love You…’ Of course I was interested right away when I got your email message and you sent me a book…beautiful. I read your book on the airplane; I was going to a missing persons conference in Florida and before I knew it, the plane was landing. It was intriguing. I really liked it and I know this was a labor of love for you.
JANEY: I appreciate that and I’m glad that you took interest and requested the book.
TODD: Yeah, and I get a lot of emails like yours, but you really got it together, and I know that’s hard to say with the subject matter but…and I know you’re still struggling, you’re story is not resolved as yet, but you really had your head together in complete thoughts. You’re saying things that I heard other people say they felt and thought but couldn’t say.
JANEY: To be honest, it was quite surprising that it came out so well. I put it together in two months and it was just God’s will, because there are many letters that I’ve had to write throughout my life and it would take me days to just think of a perfect letter to write.
JANEY: For me to put this book together in two months on my end, it was God willing. It just needed to be done and everything flowed. I spent many hours every day, about 10-14 hours a day between my normal job and got it done.
TODD: You’re like me, you’re not a writer, but you write. You know you’re not a person that normally would do this but you had a passion, and I find that I can write when it’s something that I’m interested in or have a compassion for, and obviously it worked for you.
JANEY: It did. It definitely worked and I’m glad that I got it done because the most important thing, it wasn’t that I woke up and said, “Okay, I want to do this in two months,” but my main motivation was that when I woke up last April 2007, and said, “Okay, I want to write a book for Gilbert,” I wanted it to be out for the anniversary of his disappearance, which was October 6, 2007, so I really wanted it to be done by that date, instead of prolonging it another year, and so that was my main goal in having it done that soon.
TODD: So that was the motivation for getting it done in that time period?
TODD: Now a book, what made you think to do a book?
JANEY: The strange thing is, I had read ‘The Secret’ last year, mid-March, and in the book it says to create a vision board out of holding everything that you want out of life…
TODD: Uh huh.
JANEY: …and at the top of my vision board, I actually printed out my brother’s name, and it was at the top, still is at the top, and I’m not sure what I wanted to do for my brother but he’s always on my mind and I wanted it to be big. No matter what, I wanted to do something big for Gilbert. Two days after I created my vision board, I went to work, and my buddy, Carl, that I work with, I told him, “You know I purchased the domain www.gilbertc.net this morning for Gilbert. I don’t know what I want to do with it but when I think of it, at least I own the domain.
JANEY: About 3 or 4 days later, I walked into his office and I said, “Guess what, Carl? I’m going to write a book for my brother,” and he went sort of pale, and he said, “Okay…you do that,” and I think that he thought that I finally lost my mind, “Poor Janey has lost it,” but lo and behold, within a week, I had a third of it done. Even at home everyone was saying, “Do you know what you’re doing? Writing a book? How do you know how to write a book?” I don’t know, there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end, and you just go full circle and I said, “I already have a third of it done.” And everyone was saying, “But you still have two-thirds of the way to go,” and I said, “Don’t worry, I’m going to do it. I need to do it. I can do it. And I will do it.”
TODD: It’s amazing what you can do when you have to do something, when it’s something you must do.
JANEY: Yeah, that’s exactly how I felt, because the type of person I am, I’ll start something and I won’t finish it. One day I’ll wake up and I want to sew, so I’m going to go out and buy the most expensive sewing machine and the most expensive scissors, and I’ve made one thing with it. But with this, I just wanted to do it, like everything else, but with this thing, I accomplished it and it was a wonderful feeling seeing the first copy in my hand.
TODD: Now the publishing part of it, now how did you manage to do that?
JANEY: Another…God willing. Thank God for the Internet. I went online and searched for a publisher and I was actually going to go with one company in Canada, and it was just strange how this whole process worked, that I was almost led by my hand, and I don’t know how, it was just strange but the week before I was going to sign with the company in Canada, I decided to call Xlibris, who is my publisher, I decided to call them, and my representative called me back, and I was actually in the grocery store, I was going to go away for the weekend, and I was almost not going to take the call, but I took the call and I just felt so at ease with the person that I spoke with, and a week before I was going to ship everything off to the publishing company in Canada, I changed my mind and I decided to go with Xlibris out of Pennsylvania. And I don’t know why the change, but it just felt good and I went with it and I’m glad that I made that decision because I had full control over everything that I wanted to be done with the book, not that I knew what I wanted to be done, but I had full control and that’s what it was about and the end result is every single thing in that book is the way that I wanted it and the way that I had envisioned it. Even the front cover, from day one, I knew that the front cover, I wanted it to be a picture of me holding a picture of my brother. And the back of the book, I thought that it would be very compelling to have the back of the book look like a missing person’s flyer. That way, if the book was facing either on it’s front or the back, that it would draw you in.
TODD: And it does. The lady sitting beside me on the airplane saw it and she asked me and we had a whole conversation. In fact, I didn’t get all the reading done that I wanted to do during that flight because I got all caught up in the conversation about the book and then, “Why are you reading this book?” and “What do you do?” and “Why are you here?” you know those conversations happen to me a lot. Now, Gilbert Caravallo, what happened? I’ve got this book, I’ve got a lot of questions, I took notes with things that I wanted to ask you and this is a very conversational-type interview, we just talk. If you could start with just telling us how old your brother was, where he went missing from, I want you to give it in your own words
JANEY: Gilbert is 4 years older than I am and he lived in Hawaii with my mother, and on October 6, 2004, my mother woke up like any other morning and she was preparing a meal that Gilbert and her would eat later in the day. She made a pot of curry and she was in a bit of a rush for work and she even asked him, “Hey Gilbert, do you think you can peel the potatoes for me while I go up and get ready?” He said, “Yeah, no problem.” She came back downstairs, the potatoes were peeled, she made the meal and off to work she went and she told him that if he ate anything could he please put it in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t go bad and he said, “Yeah,” and she went to work, and that was the last day that my mother ever saw my brother. Apparently a friend had come over during the day and they were hanging out and the two of them decided to walk just to a local convenience store. They were walking and another one of their friends, named Hans, drove by and they flagged him down and Hans stopped and Gilbert and his friend, Larry, jumped in the back of the pickup and off they went to the convenience store and they returned to my mother’s house and the three of them were just hanging out and deciding what they were going to do for the rest of the day. Larry decided that he just wanted to go home so Larry left and basically that’s where the story ends.
TODD: I noticed some of the things that you noted in this book, it’s just like you’re making everyday observations too, I know it’s probably like you’re in a time warp, you know you noted that your mother asked him to clean up and he did. You know he actually did what she asked him to do, didn’t he? Isn’t that right that he put the food away?
TODD: And I was reading that and it was just so strange to see that you went into this detail.
JANEY: Oh yeah, because…
TODD: You had a…wow, just the memory from that, you know.
JANEY: Oh, because the most unfortunate thing about that whole thing is that my Mom, to this day…my father was murdered in 1976, and my mother can remember the exact meal that she was cooking when the cops knocked on the door and said, “Mrs. Caravallo, your husband…” so I think part of it is that you want to hold onto certain memories…
TODD: You do.
JANEY: …because you want that person to be there. You want to go back and she’s cooking this pot of curry with Gilbert and you just want to hold onto something because you were with that person. You know perhaps that’s the logic, as odd or illogical as it may seem, maybe that’s the only way of making sense of it, you just want to put yourself back in that spot, so therefore you hold onto certain memories.
TODD: I’ve got to ask you some things and I know it’s hard because you’ve dealt with it, but I remember exactly what I had in my mouth, the bite of food I had in my mouth, when the phone call came that my brother had passed away. My Dad answered the phone and I can remember the color of the curtains in the house, everything, just a snapshot, all the way down to the taste.
JANEY: I think that…oh, go ahead.
TODD: That’s okay, and I’m thinking about your mother’s curry was there, and he peeled the potatoes, and then he…then the food was there even after he was gone.
JANEY: Yeah. So she came back, she came home and the food was in the refrigerator, yes, there was curry spilled on the countertop, but no big deal, that’s Gilbert for you. But I really think that you don’t want to stop living, but you just want to go back to that place, because it was good place, prior to.
TODD: On page 29, you said, “Love your family. You never know how much time you have together.” You know that was a good quote there, you know it seems like my whole life is circled around things like that and in big, bold print it just reaches out and touches you. It’s like you discovered this maybe because of this, right?
JANEY: Oh yeah. I think if anyone were to read my book, and if that’s the only thing they got from my book, that’s the most important thing, that everyone needs to cherish their family.
TODD: Exactly what you said, that was the exact phrase that you said in the book.
JANEY: Love your family. I think it’s unfortunate when you hear a lot of people that say, “I haven’t spoken to my cousin, my sister, my Dad in years. I’m upset at him for this, that and the other.” It pains me so much now. I can understand not speaking to someone if they’ve wronged you of if they’ve done something just completely wrong against you, but just the little petty things, we all need to get over it because you could end up in a situation like us.
TODD: You argued with Gilbert over a piece of cake.
TODD: I read where you had guilt feelings because of the way he had his hands in the cake and you didn’t like it.
TODD: But that’s normal, I mean that’s something a sister and brother would argue about, because I would probably tell my brother not to do that and he would probably tell me where I could stick the cake.
JANEY: But now it just hurts, it just hurts so bad.
TODD: Yeah, but don’t you think that maybe he probably…I know it hurts you, it would hurt me the same way, but I think if I was in his place, I wouldn’t want that to hurt you, I wouldn’t want that to bother you because you were just being a sister and that’s what sisters do, and brothers do. They insult each other, they pick at each other, I mean that’s what you were raised up to do, I think to toughen you up for the rest of the world, but I do see that you’re still feeling a lot of guilt for that, I have a feeling.
JANEY: I do. I do. Just thinking about it is bringing tears to my eyes.
TODD: Well, I have a feeling that he didn’t take it to heart. I really think that. I have a cousin that passed away, he was a little older than me, and there are things that…not bad things, but just disagreements. I think, “I could have done that for him, I wish I had done that,” you know?
TODD: Ridiculous things that I shouldn’t have done but I’ve thought, “I could have done that. I could have done that for him,” but I didn’t.
JANEY: That can tear you up.
TODD: Yeah, it does. It does bother me. It’s things I really shouldn’t do, it’s like loaning money to somebody for doing something that they shouldn’t do, or knowing that they’re going to blow it away on something they shouldn’t blow it on and you don’t give it to them. (Sighs) I think of that, you know. Now on page 35, you talk of his father being murdered.
TODD: And I think a lot of this is about him as much as it is your brother. Now you never really knew your father?
JANEY: Yes, but I actually think that…I was actually speaking to somebody else about that the other day, I think the only positive…and there’s no positive of someone’s murder, but the only good thing, in my mind that I can say, is just being so young, 10 months old, I do not have any memories of my father, therefore I really cannot mourn that person except the thing that is so sad for me is that I have never been able to call someone ‘Dad’. I’ve never ever had a father. That is huge. But I think I’m better off than my older sister, Tina, who was 7 years old at the time, and Gilbert who was older than me; that they went through the mourning and grieving process, and it ruined Gilbert. I mean, it really ruined him, being a male and losing his father and growing up and wanting to be like my father. I’m not sure if you flipped through the photos in the book, but their resemblance is just unbelievably striking.
TODD: It is. It is.
JANEY: It’s just unbelievable how much Gilbert looks like my father. There’s my aunt’s wedding photo, where Gilbert was the ring-bearer and then my father, if you look at that picture of my father and the picture of Gilbert on the back cover of him being missing, they look like the same exact person.
TODD: They do. And I know how hard it’s been for you, but for your mother, this is history repeating itself.
JANEY: Oh, exactly.
JANEY: It was terrible, the last photos that they have of my Dad, is at my aunt’s wedding, and the last photos that we have of Gilbert is at my sister’s wedding. It’s just terrible. It’s strange, and I know that other families have gone through worse, but it’s hard, it’s hard to swallow.
TODD: And speaking of the photographs now, on Missing Pieces you’ll have a permanent page, a permanent audio archive, and then we transcribe it so you’ll have a lot of material on that page and it will stay there for as long as I’m alive and able to keep it there.
JANEY: Thank you.
TODD: I do want to scan some things out of this book and the cover and the back of your book, where we talk about these things, we can actually show that, if you have no problem with that, we’d love to do that.
JANEY: I can even email you some pdf files of that.
TODD: How convenient. That would be perfect. Page 36, we talk about a psychic.
TODD: It didn’t turn out so well for you.
JANEY: It didn’t, because the strangest thing is that she said a few things about me personally and when I went to the psychic, it was not ‘Janey’s Day,’ this whole book isn’t about Janey, we really need to focus on Gilbert, missing person Gilbert. When we went to the psychic, she said a few things about me that were dead on true, like secrets, that no one had even known, except me, and I said, “Hello, can we focus on him.”
TODD: But I think a psychic has the ability to see through your eyes or see what’s in your head, and you didn’t know where he was, so she probably couldn’t pull that out of you. I don’t know if anybody, and I’ll argue it with anybody that wants to that’s listening to this, I do think that there are people that have gifts and abilities, and sometimes I don’t think that ability crosses over into another plane, it might be that I’m able to read you so well that I can feel what’s inside of you and read what’s inside of you, but maybe not something you don’t know. So it’s different to read your mind and it sounds like she just read your mind.
JANEY: Yeah, it was strange in that, I mean there were things…people just do not know that certain things have happened to me in my life and she named three of them, which I thought was strange. But as far as Gilbert, her eyes welled up with tears, and I’m not sure if she envisioned something so frightening that she couldn’t bring herself to tell me. I have no idea what went through her mind there. Her eyes welled up with tears and she said, “Let’s go upstairs, we need to pray,” and we literally bolted up these stairs, knelt down, and she lit a candle and we were praying, and she wouldn’t take my money; she refused to. So, again, I just don’t know what to make of it.
TODD: Well you did try to contact her again and she didn’t reply, right?
JANEY: I did. I fedexed her a letter along with another flyer, and I’m almost tempted to send her a book.
TODD: That’s exactly what I was going to ask you, if you would, because you really didn’t bad-mouth her. She didn’t take your money and it’s exactly true with what you said here, she didn’t contact you back, and we don’t know where she’s coming from with this and what she’s going through. This is probably not what she signed up for when she wanted to do psychic readings. Usually they just tell you a thing or two about yourself and maybe crime isn’t exactly her specialty, I’ll say that.
JANEY: Exactly, but what I read into is that she saw something so bad for her to get…I mean she was scared, she was very scared; she even said that she didn’t want to get involved. The last time she gave somebody bad news, somebody came back and put a gun to her head. So in my mind I’m thinking, is she visually seeing something so bad that happened to my brother that she is fearing for her own life by saying what she thinks, believes or knows.
TODD: I have a feeling that sending her a book would be really good. I’ve just got a good feeling about that. You learned things as you got into this world. You learned that there were a lot of missing persons. You learned…you know you never knew what it felt like to lose your Dad, but then suddenly something showed you this.
TODD: And you also learned that cadaver dogs and bloodhounds are two different things with missing persons, or somebody that’s on the run, or somebody that’s deceased. You said that on page 37.
JANEY: Uh huh. I thought a dog could sniff anything. I didn’t know that they had one trained for scent, while the other is for a corpse, you know, death. So, yeah, I definitely did learn that.
TODD: And you’ve talked about having signs. You look for signs. And I’ve done that too, on certain things you think, “God, show me a sign if this is what I’m supposed to do.”
JANEY: Oh yeah, please, exactly. And as kooky as it may sound, right when he went missing and I went back, I spent a lot of time by myself just driving around and trying to put posters up and I said, “God, just show me something. Whether he’s alive, and if he’s alive, play a certain song that I can relate to.”
JANEY: And it’s the strangest thing that you’re just really trying to…
TODD: Reaching out to God, is what you’re doing.
TODD: You’re reaching out to God for some type of…
JANEY: Show me the way. Help me through this. I don’t want to go through this. Make it go away. Send Gilbert home and I want it to be positive. I don’t want him to be missing. I don’t want him to be dead. Let’s go through this. It’s been hard. Don’t make it any harder. I’ve learned whatever it is. I promise to be good.
TODD: Oh yeah, you make God a lot of promises that you might not be able to keep in life.
JANEY: Yes. Exactly.
TODD: But it’s like a child. You’re like a child, a kid will tell you anything just to get his way, or to have some type of mercy when she’s being punished, you know, a kid will make you promises. My 15-year-old, he’ll promise me the moon to let him do this or do that and then when he’s back, he’s totally forgotten. “I’ve got my way, and I don’t care anymore.” And you’ll probably forget before you do something else is the way he looks at it, before something else happens, he’s hoping that I’ll have forgotten.
JANEY: Exactly, but going into it, your intentions are good; you really feel like you’re going to try.
TODD: And I don’t think God holds anything back from you to punish you in particular; I think He’s got a plan for everything, and I don’t know if anything can change that because you were extra good today or you did something wrong.
JANEY: I always say that everything in this life happens for a reason and this is a tough one, I can’t figure it out why. And, again, it’s not ‘poor me’ or ‘poor Janey’ or my family, or, “Woe is me.”
TODD: No, I see no ‘poor Janey’ is this book. There is nothing ‘poor Janey’ in this book at all.
JANEY: I don’t understand what’s the reasoning behind all of this but it’s hard and I want to make the best of it.
TODD: I’ve had people ask me, “What did I do wrong? Why is God doing this to me? What did I do wrong?” And I said, “You know I don’t think it boils down to that. It might be how you feel at the time, like when you pull your finger out of the fire, you know.”
JANEY: I feel that way for my mother.
JANEY: Like, “What has she done to deserve this?” I really do. But through Gilbert and his spirit, he will not be forgotten, nor will the missing men in the world.
TODD: Uh huh.
JANEY: I really think that missing men, we really don’t hear a lot about them and I want to make a big difference in that.
TODD: Well men are thought of more as the people that make people go missing rather than the people that are missing, and I know that’s just normal, it’s just human nature. And the media, your mother…it’s funny because my wife when we had a point in time when we were in the media spotlight back in the late 90s, and people would call and my wife didn’t know what to do with them and she’d just practically hang up on them and tried to tell me, “This person called and I didn’t know what to tell them so I just told them that you weren’t here and hung up,” and your mother just said, “No,” and it stopped.
JANEY: Yeah, this reporter asked her, “Are you related to Gilbert Caravallo?” and she said, “No,” and I could just feel for her and she was probably having a heart attack at the same moment, but she knew to call me immediately and so I’m scrambling and calling information and trying to get the news reporter and I was grateful to meet up with that person so we could do a story. And that’s a really good thing about the media in Hawaii, as far as Gilbert, every year they’ve aired a news story for him, and even in the newspapers, they’ve written new stories each and every year. I call them in advance and they’ve never turned me down, which is great.
TODD: That’s great. You joked that your mother sort of had a heart attack, but she actually did have a heart attack a little later, where she broke down and later she did have a heart attack.
JANEY: She did. She did, shortly after his disappearance.
TODD: Do you connect that? I mean everybody has heart attacks; I’ve got a friend that I work with, he’s 38 years old, and he just had a heart attack, two heart attacks, in fact. So she might have had a heart attack anyway, but do you think the stress probably contributed to it?
JANEY: Oh, without a doubt, because she’s fairly healthy and it was just out of the blue and I know when I was there she was complaining about her shoulder, a nagging pain in her shoulder, and she was going to the doctor for that and they couldn’t figure it out, and sure enough…he went missing October 6th, so I was there about 3 weeks later, and 3 weeks after that she suffered a heart attack. It was right before Thanksgiving of 2004, she suffered a heart attack and it was definitely brought on due to stress.
TODD: And you know we’re rolling right along with this so fast, I wish every guest came with a handbook like you do. You come with a handbook and it’s just so easy to interview you and you thought out all this stuff and you’re not grasping for words or anything. It’s funny what you hang onto in life.
JANEY: I know.
TODD: You know when little things become important to you, and you have a coconut. Tell me about your coconut.
JANEY: Oh, my coconut pencil holder…Gilbert made it, he made it in 6th or 7th grade in his woodshop class, and the funny thing is that each one of my siblings, I don’t know where I missed out in life on woodshop, but that’s all right. My older sister made a little toolbox when she was probably in 7th grade, and I have it here in my house, and then my younger sister made a stool, and a few years ago when I went back to Hawaii, I said, “Oh, that’s a great stool,” and she said, “Oh, you can take it home.” I said, “Great,” and I had something from her and so from my three siblings, I have something that each of them have made in woodshop class. Well Gilbert made this pencil holder, and when I moved from Hawaii, I guess it just moved along with us to California or my Grandma brought it out or what have you, but it was in our house the whole time and since 7th or 8th grade, it ended up on my desk. I got my first desk and I needed a pencil holder, so Gilbert’s pencil holder ended up on my desk and that’s from about the time of 7th grade, I’ve had it since then, and now it’s on my desk at work. I’ve been with the same company for 12 years now, and it’s special to me, it’s something that he made with his own hands, like the other items that my other siblings made. Do I have a prized possession? I think that would be one of them at this point in my life because it’s something that Gilbert had made with his own hands.
TODD: The value of that increased a million times over when something happens.
JANEY: Oh yeah, every time I go on vacation, I’m tempted to bring it home, because I think someone is going to do something to my pencil holder. It’s strange, but it really does mean a lot to me.
TODD: Well, obviously, and I can see why. Now you spoke of a time when you felt like your own brain was destroying you. You thought you were losing your mind.
JANEY: And I think sometimes now, I really do, and it’s that talking…you’re talking to yourself or you’re saying, “Try to show me a sign. What does this mean? How do I get out of this? Gilbert, please come home.” I do it a lot of times. I’m at home and I’m looking at his picture and I’m talking to it, you know, “Gilbert, where did you go? Why did you go there? Please come home. No matter what, we’re not going to be mad. We don’t care if you decided to leave on your own and you were just being irresponsible, but please come home.” Yeah, I feel like my own brain is destroying me. I’m trying to make sense out of something that I cannot make sense out of. I will probably never be able to make sense out of this and it’s just eating at me.
TODD: Do you think this book was therapy? I mean you obviously didn’t write this book to be a best-selling author and to sell them, and I know you can sell them, but you wrote it for a different reason.
JANEY: No, my target group…well, number one, I wrote it for me, I really needed to do this for myself, and then my target group, number one, would be people that are in a similar situation. If you have a missing loved one, I would hope that you could relate to this and you could get something out of it, first and foremost, that was the goal. And then the number two goal being, “Love your family, you never know how much time you may have.” It could relate to any person, you know, anyone out there, read this book and by the end of the book I would just hope that you could run home and kiss your loved ones and say, “God I love you.”
TODD: If anybody out there wants to get this book, they can find out how to get it at www.findgilbert.com, right?
JANEY: It’s www.gilbertc.net is where the book is at and Gilbert’s personal website is www.findgilbert.com and there’s a link.
TODD: And there’ll be links all over this webpage that’s being recorded and transcribed so that people can get to it really easily. Now you wrote about a lot of things in here besides Gilbert, and I appreciate that because that showed me how it affected you for somebody to be gone and that’s very important for people to see that. You talked about some things that happened to you growing up, you and your cousins set your garbage can on fire and your mother just sort of took care of it and scolded you and let it go.
JANEY: Oh, blew it off, thank God.
TODD: And you were scared to death, I can see that.
TODD: And you talked about a bullet. You have a bullet in your skull, under your scalp. Now, what happened?
JANEY: Yeah, I had. My aunt pulled it out.
TODD: What happened?
JANEY: Well, just walking home from school, I was in the 7th grade and was walking home and stopped at the ice cream shop with my friends and I guess I’m still the jokester, and I felt a sharp thud blast my scalp, and then I said, “Ow!” It hurt bad enough and I really thought I wanted to cry, but you can’t cry in front of your friends…
JANEY: …it’s embarrassing. And then I felt a warm sensation flowing down the side of my head, and as I dragged my fingers across my face, I just shouted out, “You guys, I’m bleeding,” and then my friends turned around, “Your joking us,” and by the time everyone turned around, my face was covered in blood and it was dripping on my shirt. We ran back to school and I guess by the time my aunt had arrived, the blood had coagulated, and it sort of started to heal, and so no one knew what to think. Did someone throw a rock? Did a seagull peck me? No one knew what it was, we never went to the doctor, and as the summer went on, you know we had bunk beds and I made the bottom bunk and I hit my head in that spot and it was painful, and my aunt was just tired of hearing it so she said, “Janey, come here,” and “Why are you complaining?” so she poked around with tweezers to puncture the area. It had healed over but it was an abscess, there was puss around it, and she put her tweezers and saw something that appeared to be a rock and she started tugging and I could feel the pulling of my scalp as it eased out, and I just heard her scream, “Mom, come here.” She was yelling for my grandmother to come over and she had removed a bullet from my scalp, just a little tiny bullet, and they were screaming and carrying on and I really didn’t think too much of it at the time because I was young, about 12 or 13 years old. But I guess I have a purpose in life and I’m finding that out now, but it just wasn’t my time, thankfully. But I even returned last year, probably May, as I was wrapping the book up, to the City Police Department because I wanted a copy of the police report to include that in the book so that people could either see a little picture of the bullet, or a copy of the police report, I thought it was important, seeing that it was such an old file and basically unimportant; they have purged the files. But, yeah, as strange as it may sound, they did determine that someone had probably fired a shot up in the air and the bullet came down backwards and it landed in my head. If it had went down point first, I probably would have died.
TODD: I have a feeling that something else will come of that one day. I think you’ll find out something else about that, that just seems to be like a profound moment in life that you don’t realize the reason why for many years later. Everything, like I said, has a meaning. Did you keep the bullet?
JANEY: No, we had to turn it in to the police.
TODD: So they kept everything. Okay.
JANEY: They kept everything and that’s why I went back because I figured that I could have at least gotten a picture of it.
TODD: So not only the report, but the bullet itself was gone as well.
TODD: Wow. Okay, you had already bought Gilbert his Christmas gift before he went missing in October 6th, 2004, and you still have that.
JANEY: I still have it, and I’m looking at my cedar chest and it is in my cedar chest. It’s a Harley-Davidson’s men’s dress-shirt and I have it, I don’t know what to do, I can’t give it away. In my mind I’m attached to it because it was purchased for Gilbert; I don’t know where Gilbert is but hopefully I will be able to give this to him one day, and if not, it will remain in my cedar chest because I can’t give this to any other man. I don’t want to see any other man wearing this shirt that is intended for Gilbert, it is Gilbert’s, therefore I can’t part with it.
TODD: I would like for you to do me a favor, I would like for you to take a picture of that so we could note that right here in this part of the conversation, if that’s possible.
TODD: And I know that’s not going to be easy for you to do, but you’ve done a lot of things that it’s not been easy for you to do but it’s one of your treasures and I want people to see it.
TODD: I really want people to see it. I think we need to see that. And this is another thing I can relate to through other people that have been in the same situation that you’re in; your mother turned his cell phone off, and you had been calling that cell phone to hear his voice or to hear his outgoing message…
JANEY: Uh huh.
TODD: …and you just felt like he was there, somehow, someway, you knew he wasn’t checking his voicemail, but you liked to check that voice mail. You liked to hear him pick up.
JANEY: Yes, more than anything, you want to hear him answer, “Hello.”
JANEY: And I think that I had come to some conclusion that he wasn’t going to answer, but I was content with hearing this guitar voice that he recorded because I knew that he put it on there. It was Gilbert’s crazy music, but it was his phone, it was his recording, and I would call it just to check in. I wanted to hear whatever he had recorded, and one day, it stopped. It was some classical music; somebody else was issued the number and it was hard for me.
TODD: You know I think your mother probably had no idea until that happened, until she turned it off and she knew she had to turn it off, I think, because there comes a time, and it’s not that you didn’t have the money, but it was crazy to keep paying for that.
JANEY: She’s stronger than me. If it were me, I’d probably still have it on three years later, you know, I’m…it’s hard, and I know that people like to say that I’m in denial, so be it. It’s my life and I’m dealing with this differently, but in my book I do mention that I want everything to be the same and if Gilbert were to return, we would just pick up like nothing ever happened. The possibility of that happening at this point in time is probably slim but I won’t give up hope, and I refuse to talk about him in the past tense. It really bothers me when someone says, “How tall was he?” How tall is he? Is. He’s six foot tall. There is no was, you know. I have no idea where he is, and he may be deceased, but it’s ‘is’.
TODD: But you just don’t know though?
JANEY: I definitely do not know, but I don’t want to say, “Well, how old was he?” Well, “How old was he when he went missing?” you know I can understand putting it that way.
TODD: Well you went through all your website design. You went through buying a domain name, and that was probably something new to you but you learned how to do it because you had to.
TODD: You learned how to all that.
JANEY: And the details about outlining it that way, it might help somebody else.
TODD: And I think that will, because I’ve had people and you tell them to do this or that and they’re like, “I don’t know how to do that,” but you have to. You’re going to have to do that, you’re going to have to learn to do that, and you’re going to have to learn how to manage it. And I’d love to do it personally for everybody, but I just can’t; the best thing I can do is try to teach you how and then that way you can manage it yourself and take care of it. So you did well, you had a little help, I see, but you’re doing it, and I think you’re doing it well now. And tips? You’ve got a bad tip at one time, I think?
JANEY: Yeah, I probably received three tips and they were all just ridiculous. One tip stated that Gilbert was in a West-African country and this person needed to speak to his next-of-kin, and I really don’t understand this person’s motivation; they had a Yahoo account and they left their email address, and I just can’t understand someone’s logic on that. I had someone trace the IP address and it was coming from someone in Hawaii. I really don’t understand…I mean I could never…whether it’s a missing person, or someone deceased, or any case that I have no tip about, would I call in or email a false tip, I don’t get how someone could be so cruel and insensitive to do something like that.
TODD: Do you think it could be somebody even possibly involved, trying to throw you off the track? It makes you think of a lot of different things.
JANEY: I don’t know about that because being that an email address is traceable and I just called Yahoo and they said they’ve dealt with it in their own way, if someone where involved, I just would assume no communication, no tips at all. You know I even think it could have been a kid; that’s what my Mom thinks. I wanted to hurt someone but my Mom said, “That’s someone’s kid,” and I said, “I’ll hurt them, too.” I was just upset. I don’t get it. You’re dealing with enough in a time and situation like this, for someone to report anything false, I don’t understand why they would do that or what kind of kicks that they would get out of that.
TODD: They just don’t know, you know. I know at one time you didn’t know what it was like, but I don’t think you would have bothered anybody with it or try to pull a prank on anybody, but that awakening, nobody wants to be where you’re at.
JANEY: Yeah, I’m the biggest jokester, I make a joke out of everything, but I wouldn’t even report a false tip if someone had a missing pet.
TODD: And you had a missing pet. And that’s in the book, and people can read that part if they pick up the book, and I think it was interesting you related to your missing pet’s poster, that helped model, it helped you model…it’s amazing what you were practicing for when you made that flyer for your dog.
JANEY: Yeah, I think everything happens for a reason, and you may not like the reasoning, but our paths are sort of pre-destined.
TODD: A song, ‘Missing you’ by John Waite, you’ve got the lyrics here in the book. Apparently that was something that really takes you back to Gilbert.
JANEY: It does and I hear it quite often. I just heard it yesterday and I blasted it at work; I listen to an adult contemporary station at work, and they play that quite frequently, and just the words, “I miss you,” just read the lyrics, “I spend my time thinking about you, and it’s driving me wild.” Just the lyrics make me think of me, my life, Gilbert, and the situation that I’m dealing with.
TODD: It’s definitely not what the song was written for, but it’s amazing how you can adapt it to your life.
TODD: You adapted it to suit your situation.
JANEY: Exactly. It’s not what it’s written about, but for me, my mind goes there, yes, but it’s definitely not what it was written about. Exactly.
TODD: Now you’ve done other things. You’ve got license plates framed, you did that. You thought about doing some strange things, like putting somebody else’s car in another area, or a rental car, you know, a lot of things run through your mind when you’re trying to figure out what to do about a situation. You try to improvise things and that’s what some of the people I work with now, the Cold Cases discussion group, we adapted the Yahoo group forum from years ago and made something else. It was definitely made for something else, but we adapted it and we made things be what we wanted them to be. We used tools for other things on the Internet to solve our problems that we had in our lives.
TODD: And people tend to do that, and I think my favorite part is, and I often ask guests to do this during the show, I ask them to speak directly to the person that’s missing, just in case, you know, we do not know whether or not for sure if he’s dead or alive, and I ask them, “Talk to them,” but you did, you did this in your book. You wrote an entire chapter where you basically were speaking to Gilbert. You wrote him a letter.
JANEY: I think that that’s the most meaningful part of my book.
TODD: It is, and it’s right at the end.
TODD: You put a card that he sent to you. You reminded him that of things; he got suspended in 4th grade for jamming the doors at school, he snuck in Grandma’s closet, you’ve done so many things that you’re recalling. You even reminded him when you spoke for the last time to each other and you told him you loved him that night, you did.
JANEY: Yes, oh, that means so much to me.
TODD: And you’ve got to let go of that cake, I know that’s a great analogy in this book, but he’d probably throw that cake at you right now, you know.
JANEY: I would do the same.
TODD: You would, I know.
JANEY: Where have you been, have some cake.
TODD: If you had it to do over, you would do exactly the same thing, I’m sure of that. Now where to now? Now what do you do? Now what’s going to happen?
JANEY: With my life?
TODD: Yeah. You’ve gotten the book out, you know that was a big high point coming out and it was therapy for you, and I’ve lived my life like this, a lot of times it’s like, “And now what? And now what do I do?” I mean it’s hard to top something like this. I mean you poured out your heart doing this.
JANEY: Oh, I know. I feel that, thus far, it’s the biggest thing that I’ve done in my life and thankfully it was done for Gilbert. I don’t feel like I can do anymore for Gilbert, but the whole goal is that I want every person, when they hear that name Gilbert, to think of my Gilbert, my brother Gilbert, and know his story. I want everyone to see his face, know the name, and send him home; he needs to come home.
TODD: Well, I’ve got an assignment for you, if you’ll do it. Could you write a synopsis of this book? Just maybe an outline, so that if somebody is looking to hopefully order this book, if you had…because the show is going to serve as that too because we went down through and we touched on a number of subjects, but to include on the website, the very show that we’re talking about right now, maybe give us a synopsis so that people can see what they’re going to be reading. And I do recommend this book.
TODD: I don’t ever endorse anything lightly, and I’m just saying it’s not for a fundraiser or anything, there’s no reason that I’m endorsing it other than if you’ve got a missing family member, I think somebody can relate to this and take comfort in that they’re not crazy. You went through some crazy moments…flower vases at your father’s grave getting stuck, you know you spoke about that, and it almost seemed unrelated, but it is related. You were angry about some things and you’re just so honest in it and I just really like it. Did I say that I liked it?
JANEY: I felt that if I were honest and truthful, the people, they could relate, and I even mentioned my own drinking, I mean, that’s not something positive.
TODD: Yeah, you did. I wasn’t going to mention that yet, but I’m glad you did.
JANEY: It was not positive, but I felt that if I were honest and if I could write it then it’s believable.
TODD: Uh huh.
JANEY: This is what I’ve gone through and I’m not the only person out there.
TODD: You showed me that at one time you felt like you were the only person, but you acknowledged that you weren’t and you shared so much back in this so you went through five different emotions in this book and ended on a positive note. We’ve only exchanged probably six emails with each other, and this is the first time that we’ve physically talked to each other, but I read enough of you in this book, I feel you’re somebody that I know really well. And that’s good.
JANEY: I just really wanted the book to come full circle, a beginning, middle, and an end. You’re taught in grammar school to write a paper that has a beginning, middle, and an end…
TODD: But there’s no end.
JANEY: The end is my letter to Gilbert, “Hurry Home, I Just Want to Say I Love You…”
TODD: Well we don’t know where it’s going to go from here.
JANEY: We don’t.
TODD: And I can tell you, and I’ve mentioned this in several shows, and I try to mention it in every show, there is hope. The federal government has…and I’m a panelist on this new system, it’s more than a website, it’s the new government’s missing and unidentified persons database, it’s call NamUs.gov, and I know now, if I know nothing else, I know as being a panelist on this committee to create this system, I know that our government is truly committed to trying to solve this problem. It’s a bigger problem than what people realize. I think it’s a bigger problem than what our government realized until we looked at it, because I still see some of the people’s jaws hit the floor when we bring up the subject and we’re talking about astronomical figures and some problems that I can relate to from knowing people like you and then I say, “No, that won’t work because of this, this and this.” And they’re like, “What?!” They’d never heard of anything like that before and I think that it’s a problem that nobody really…it was so huge. What can I do for you if I can’t bring Gilbert home to you?
JANEY: Oh, I know, and I flew to Hawaii in January to throw my mother a surprise 60th birthday, and I had arranged for the police to do a DNA test. I mean honestly, and I’m not putting fault on who should have initiated it besides me, but my Mom took her DNA test at the end of January of this year, it’s three years later. What if Gilbert was an unidentified two years ago?
TODD: Uh huh.
JANEY: So I don’t know what the protocol should be but maybe it does start on our end that someone needs to volunteer, “Hey, can I submit a DNA test?” But I don’t know where the funding comes from and does the state want to be overwhelmed with DNA tests?
TODD: Well you know we have a National DNA Database now?
JANEY: Yeah. And what should be the time frame? Well if your loved one is missing, after six months, a year? When should someone submit to a DNA test? You know there needs to be some type of ground rules, I mean, I think three years, three and a half years, is overkill.
TODD: Oh yeah.
JANEY: Maybe three months, but I think it was a little too long and I know that when my Mom came out in October, there did not ever seem like a perfect moment to bring up the subject. We had cocktails every day and I would look into her eyes and I couldn’t get the words out, and I’m never at a loss for words, but I could not bring myself to tell my own mother, “Mom, I think it’s about time to take a DNA test,” I could not bring myself to do it. So, being that I knew that I was going back to Hawaii for her surprise party, I coordinated it with the police and I said, “You know what, I know that when I’m physically there...
In the heartbreaking memoir Gilbert C. Hurry Home! I Just Want To Say I Love You…, Janey Lee Caravallo pours out the anguish of the terrible tragedy that befell their family: On one ordinary day, October 6, 2004, the author's elder brother, Gilbert Paul Caravallo, left his house in Hawaii, went somewhere – and never came back. A normal adult standing six feet tall, Gilbert, then 35, seemed to have simply vanished from the face of the earth. His disappearance, however, is surrounded by suspicious circumstances. One of the last people to see him didn't seem to have a coherent account of when and where he last saw Gilbert, and the police investigation didn't reveal anything.
Taking matters into her own hands, the author labored to contact any avenue that could help, from local media to government agencies, and even The White House. All her efforts, however, were futile – Gilbert still couldn't be found. This work describes in painful detail, how the uncertainty of what happened to Gilbert has deeply affected his sisters and mother.
Compounding the tragedy for Janey was the fact that her father was murdered when she was very young – and now another family tragedy has surfaced. Disturbed and stressed out, she has spiraled downward and eventually sought help from a therapist to deal with the loss. In the end, she has recovered somewhat, but to this very day, the author still hopes that Gilbert will come home one day. She shares her story so that those who find themselves in this awful situation will know there are others who understand their pain, and will be able to cope with own their grief.
Raw and painful, Gilbert C. Hurry Home! I Just Want To Say I Love You… is written straight from the heart and shows us the awful reality of what it is like to be in this emotional limbo. It also reminds us to never, ever take your loved ones for granted – you never know how long you will have them.
Gilbert Paul Caravallo's Vitals:
Missing Since: October 06, 2004
Missing From: Aiea/Pearl Ridge/Pearl City Area
Date of Birth: February 05, 1969
Height and Weight: 6' 0", 220 lbs.
Tattoos: "Gilbert C" on back and mystical wizard on his right upper arm.
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