Mom Vanishes, Then Son Tells Cops To Watch Wedding Video
He admired how happy his parents were. The tape reminded him of how smitten they were with each other. He continued watching the video and suddenly he noticed something terrifying. He could feel sweat dripping off his forehead.
He saw a man reaching out to his mother and noticed a very expensive watch. He knew that this man was powerful. However, the expression on his face gave everything away. He could see right through him.
It was a difficult time for Mark Welling. He never thought he would have to do this, but there he was, cleaning out his parents’ house.
35-year-old Mark was lucky enough to have had a strong bond with his parents, as he did not need to fight for their attention. He was their only child. He was unable to go through his father’s belongings after he passed, but now that he wanted to sell the house, he knew he needed to.
Mark remembered his childhood fondly. He grew up with two loving parents who wanted to give him the world.
He knew that his parents would always be there if he needed them. However, he would soon find out that not everything was as perfect as it appeared to be.
When Mark was a young child, his mother vanished. The police searched for her for years but eventually decided to close the case. His father went through a very difficult time due to this, and Mark had to live with his grandparents.
Seeing as Mark was an only child, he inherited his family home upon his father’s passing. The house was home to various painful childhood memories, and he was not ready to unpack them. He appointed various people over the years to maintain the property while he gathered the strength to deal with his past.
Mark re-watched his parent’s wedding video numerous times. It warmed his heart seeing how madly in love they were. However, he noticed something ominous, a strange figure in the hiding in the background…
Mark finally stepped foot in his family home, after years of avoiding it. The last time he visited the house, he had to put all his parent’s belongings into storage. That day was difficult for him, and he cried on the way to his house. He was unaware that this was going to happen again, but for more sinister reasons.
Mark found himself going through boxes and boxes of old videotapes. He noticed that each videotape had a label on it, all except one…
It caught Mark’s attention and he wanted to figure out what the mysterious videotape was so he played it. Mark was confused when he found out that it was a video taken on his parents’ wedding day. He wondered why this tape was not labeled and why he never saw it.
Mark was overcome with feelings of warmth as he watched the video. He found it cool to see his aunts and uncles look so young!
The camera kept focusing on a man that Mark recognizes vaguely. Mark could feel his body trembling in fear… who was this stranger?
Mark could see his mother getting uncomfortable in the video, and she kept having odd eye contact with one of her father’s friends. He noticed that it was the strange man.
His mother started to sob uncontrollably while arguing with the strange man. His father tried to calm her down but it ended up in them starting to argue with each other at the altar. Mark had no idea what caused this to happen.
Looking For Answers
Mark had a difficult time believing that his parents were acting in this way. He did not remember them fighting at all growing up. Mark needed to get to the bottom of this.
Mark investigated the box filled with tapes to try and determine who the odd man was. He found another tape and when he watched it, his heart fell to his stomach.
It was Mark’s birth video. Mark recognized himself in his mother’s arm, and two men surrounding the hospital bed. One is his father and the other the strange man! They all seemed to be enjoying each other’s company.
Mark did not understand the situation, were they friends? Mark’s gut was telling him that something was not right. What he witnessed next unlocked memories he forgot existed.
Deceit And Lies
As the man reached out to hold him, he caught a glimpse of the man’s watch. It was the kind of watch you’d never forget. Expensive-looking, sharp. A watch that told everyone around him that he was a wealthy man. A man more powerful than most.
He watched as the man lifted him to share a kiss on his forehead, and shuttered at the deceitful appearance.
Suddenly, Mark realized that somewhere within his memory lay a hidden box full of forgotten encounters with this man.
He studied him again, now looking at his clean suit and tidy haircut. He really did look immaculate. He behaved in such a polite and respectful way that no one could ever have guessed what he did.
To him, the man was his estranged uncle, Gerard. At least, that’s what his parents called him. He was a wealthy man that used to come to his birthdays and other family occasions. Always bringing big gifts and a welcoming smile.
He had stopped going to family events when Mark was young, maybe about five, and Mark never knew why. What happened to him? And why did Mark feel so strange looking at him?
Mark’s mother always avoided talking about “Uncle Gerald” once he stopped dropping by. He remembered asking about him once only to be met with a soft voice saying not to ask about him again.
Mark always knew he wasn’t as kind and generous as he appeared to be. And suddenly, it hit him. He knew where he’d seen his face before.
An Identikit Sketch
Mark had seen an identikit sketch of the man on television recently, on a rerun of an old crime show from the 80s.
The man was a criminal who operated in the San Francisco area, linked to robberies and gang involvement. Suddenly, everything made sense. Mark’s heart stood still and his breath became shallow.
Judging by his mom’s character, Mark surmised that she must have found out what he was doing on her wedding day and couldn’t hold back her feelings, even at the altar.
Mark never knew where he went, so he googled his name. He found that he had been arrested years before he was born. But they hadn’t been able to keep him for long.
A Man On The Run
“Uncle Gerald’s” real name was James Kern, a man who had been on the run from police since 1977 when he escaped from a prison bus in North Carolina.
The convict had waited at the back of the bus until it stopped by a forest before making a run for it. Eventually, he started a new life and forged a fresh identity.
A Bank Robbery
“Uncle Gerald” had just begun his 10-year sentence for bank robbery. After falling in with a bad crowd in his youth, he had been tempted into committing more and more serious crimes as time passed.
He was living the high life until he eventually got caught by police and sentenced. Did this man have something to do with his mom’s disappearance? Sweat dripped from Mark’s forehead as he slowly pulled out his phone and dialed 911.
Handing Them Over
Mark handed the tapes over to the FBI, although he didn’t know if any of the information on them would help them solve the case.
Strange feelings washed over him as everything he thought he knew was turned inside out. His mother had disappeared when he was nine, and that was that. But now he had to come to grips with an unsettling feeling: what if everything he knew was a lie?
The Mystery Deepens
It was a tenuous link at best, but Mark was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. What if his parents had been inextricably involved in “Uncle Gerald’s” life of crime?
Searching online late into the night, he found reports of sightings of the man who was permanently on the FBI’s Wanted list — some as recent as the 1990s.
The FBI assumed that the man had taken a new identity before he’d appeared in Mark’s life, and had possibly had several aliases since.
Did that mean that his mom could also be alive somewhere? Mark dared to imagine what it would be like to meet her again before his heart hardened. A tear rolled down his cheek. That would mean that she had abandoned him. Or maybe her disappearance was more sinister.
Was the man that Mark knew as Uncle Gerald involved? Had he done something unspeakable? And for what purpose? The only person who may hold some answers was Mark’s father, and now he was gone too.
Mark hadn’t spoken to him much when he moved in with his grandparents, and their relationship had slowly fallen apart after that.
Reopening The Case
With this new detail that Mark had provided, James Kern’s case was reopened — as well as the case of Marks’ mother’s disappearance. The FBI used new technology to age their identikit sketches appropriately and sent out alerts across every state.
21,894 women are missing in cases that have gone cold in the U.S. as of 2016. Even though these cases are cold they are reopened if new evidence is found.
Investigators have not yet made any arrests or breakthroughs about the mysterious man and Mark’s mom’s disappearance.
And, according to a press release from a police spokesman, they’ve been unable to shed any light on the strange reopened case. “Police cannot speculate what happened to the woman,” it read. And then, another potential piece of evidence disappeared.
Six months after the discovery was made, Mark put the property on the market. Just a few weeks later, it sold for a little under $400,000.
At the moment, it’s unclear whether or not the new owners know the mysterious history of the home, or if there are more discoveries to be found within. And as time passes, it seems less and less likely that Mark will ever get to the bottom of his mother’s disappearance.