Police to Parent: Will Not Look For Missing Children

by James J. Keene PhD

Willingboro, NJ - June 1, 2003 Search dogs sniffing and barking. Police and volunteers move through woods and fields to find a missing child. A near instant response to a missing child report seen on the evening news.

Every parent is frightened, "It could have been my child." But the video images are an awesome display of effort to find a child and reassure parents everywhere. In fact, there is a Federal Law that requires police to search for missing children immediately upon receipt of a report from a parent.

My two children were kidnapped and went missing, Feb 1. 1995. In my own extensive efforts to locate them, missing children reports were filed and largely ignored. To my knowledge there were no investigations, no search parties, no questions asked by anyone to anyone. Why? Have the police violated Federal Law?

Why should my missing children, Grace Keene and James Keene, be ignored? Not a single police dog barked or sniffed. Was it because the parental kidnapper, Nilda M. Keene (maiden name Davis-Flores), was a medical doctor in a family with considerable status and political ties? Was it because the Davis-Flores gang may have had access to considerable cash and cocaine? Let's take a look.

As the victim parent, on July 19, 1995, I filed missing children reports. One was filed with the Willingboro Police Dept., Willingboro, New Jersey. Then, on July 26, 1995, a fax from Ptlm. M. Zielinski #124, Police Dept., Willingboro, NJ, "Re: July 19, 1995, Missing Person's Report, Incident #P952010068", stated that Det. David Truesdell #114, Criminal Division, "will be handling any and all investigations regarding this case".

Did Det. Truesdell handle or investigate anything? One week passed and still no response to the missing children emergency?

On August 3, 1995, another followup request for investigation was sent to Det. Truesdell of the Willingboro Police Department and to police and the FBI in Puerto Rico, among others.

Police Violate Federal Law?

However, the result of the "Missing Children Report" that I received was a most unusual and suspicious document and suggests the possibility of foul play. Received by mail, a letter from "Willingboro Township Police" states:

August 7, 1995

Dear Dr. Keene:

I received your fax of August 3, 1995 in reference to the custody of your children. Please be advised that if you have a court order from the Commonwealth of Dominica, that order would have to be filed with the Superior Court of New Jersey.

I have spoken with your attorney, John T. Kubit, Esq., and informed him what is needed for your court order to be valid in the State of New Jersey.

I strongly suggest that you contact your attorney, Mr. Kubit, and make arrangements for the proper paperwork to be filed.

D/Sgt. Donald Warren #1660
Criminal Investigations Division

More than two weeks had passed since July 19 and the Willingboro Police had not yet checked out the single address I gave to search for missing children? It appears that the police have admitted in writing that they have violated Federal Law.

Children are missing and the police are talking about a court order, checking with an attorney and filing paperwork? What kind of nonsense is this? Priority one is to locate and ensure the safety of missing children.

This was a very strange and unusual response to any missing children report.

First there was no reference to the report itself or "Incident #P952010068" as if they did not exist. Since when is a court order needed to locate missing children? Missing children are an emergency. Why file more papers in New Jersey? The correct papers had already been filed in the correct place, the Willingboro Police Department. Since when does the "Superior Court of New Jersey" do missing children searches?

Where are the children?

Special police dogs were not even required. I had given a specific address of Pedro Davis-Flores at 29 Neptune Lane where the children might be found. All that was required was to send a squad car and determine if the children were there or not. If there, then they would no longer be missing and I could have been so informed. End of story.

Why did the obvious not occur?

Mystery of the Missing Child Search

It appears that the Willingboro police refused in writing to look for missing children. Why? This incredible action is difficult to explain.

(1) If there was shortage of personnel or resources, I might have been informed of that. Again, end of story. But it would only take a few minutes for a police officer to stop by 29 Neptune Lane. So the mystery remains.

(2) Was it incompetence or lack of knowledge of the Federal Law regarding immediate search for missing children? Maybe, but doubtful. This explanation just does not ring true. No search parties and volunteers were required, just a visit to an address in Willingboro. Are we to believe that efforts to find missing children commence immediately, as reported cases in the news media, except if the children are James R. Keene, 8, and Grace J. Keene, 11?

So we still have no explanation that is plausible, that makes sense.

(3) Suppose that a police officer did in fact visit 29 Neptune Lane. Now this is plausible. Suppose that the kidnappers talked with that police officer. By definition, the kidnappers were hiding. They had committed serious crime.

It is plausible that this simple effort by police to check out a possible location of missing children in fact was seen by the kidnappers as a grave danger to their careers as criminals. Given the high stakes in this kidnapping adventure, the many members of the Davis-Flores gang involved, it is plausible to hypothesize that "something had to be done."

Did Davis-Flores gang members panic? All they had to do is tell the police officer that the children are there or not there and that would be that. They would then have time to run and hide again. It appears that did not happen. Then what did happen? If, in fact, that house was visited by police, a sort of bribery or trickery may have unfolded.

What is the evidence that the police did pass by and speak with occupants of that house? The talk of custody issues and a court order in the letter cited above may suggest that the house at 29 Neptune Lane was never checked out. Or maybe the kidnappers did in fact interact with one or more members of the Willingboro police department and this letter was the result. Either way, Federal Law would have been violated.

But why didn't the police do their job? Or were they simply fooled as many before them by these first-class con-artists? Or, God forbid, were they bribed? The Davis-Flores gang does have the resources to undertake bribery in a big way.

This should be officially investigated, because aside from foul play, a plausible explanation has not yet been found for the transformation of a missing children report from a distraught parent into the letter quoted above. Are we left to think that the letter above from the Willingboro police was bought and paid for?

It would not be good news for parents if all kidnappers have to do is divert or bribe local police to "kill" a missing children search.


On May 1, I sent a draft copy of this investigative report to the Willingboro Township Police Department for their comment and information on this case as described below. To date, no reply has been received. After one month, the full article above is now published.

To help the Keene kids, click here to email Denise Rose, Willingboro Township manager, or here to email the Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey, to politely ask how the fact-finding by the Willingboro Township Police Department on this case is going or whether the draft article sent to them was fully correct. Thank you, dear reader.

On the evening before May 1,

(a) Some dozen law enforcement sites all list the same URL or
Willingboro PD web site; but it was down/unreachable.

(b) I send this article on the Willingboro Township PD with a cover
letter to 

=====BEGIN copy of email=====
Subject: Article on Willingboro Police
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 21:33:24 -0500

Mayor Paul Stephenson
Willingboro Township, NJ

Director Benjamin C. Braxton
Willingboro Township Police Department
One Salem Road         
Willingboro, NJ 08046

Dear Mayor Stephenson and Director Braxton:

The attached article is part of an in-depth investigation
of events related to the kidnapping of my children, Feb. 1,
1995, involving the Willingboro Police.  The draft article,
"Police to Parent: Will Not Look for Missing Children", is
now submitted to you *before* publication for further
fact-finding and comment, corrections, etc, from authorities
in Willingboro.

I would welcome your examination of this material and
respectfully request that it be forwarded to personnel in
the Police Department who may have files, reports, detailed
accounts of events, etc, which may shed light on what
exactly happened in response to the "Missing Children
Reports" described.

The web site in the signature below provides considerable
background on this case.

I hope and pray that you are able to provide detailed
official accounts of how this case was handled, so that
the enclosed article can be properly edited and clarified.
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.  

Sincerely and cordially,
James J. Keene PhD
Missing Keene Kids
=====END copy of email=====

(c) Since there was some uncertainty if the above email
reached it's destination, on May 4, copies of the above
message with a request to forward to the WTPD, were sent to: and

(d) I could find no working email address for the
Burlington County prosecutor or his office.

Copyright © 2003 James J. Keene
Original Publication: June 1, 2003

Please use Back on your browser to return to Missing Keene Kids.