Missing children expert had early doubts about King Jay Davila case
SAN ANTONIO - A local expert on missing children is sharing her perspective on the recent revelations from police concerning the search for 8-month-old King Jay Davila.
"I'm so sad," says Dottie Laster. "It hurts. I mean, there's no other way to put it. It hurts physically."
Before funding issues forced them to close last year, Laster ran the Heidi Search Center, working side-by-side with hundreds of families whose loved ones had vanished.
"There have been many times in the past year when I wished we were still open," Laster says with a sigh.
Perhaps no time more so than now, as the search for King Jay unfolds.
"I'm really kind of angry that someone would perpetrate a hoax," Laster says.
Laster says alarm bells went off for her almost immediately when she saw that gas station surveillance footage, which showed a woman in a hoodie – later identified by police as the cousin of the baby’s father – supposedly taking off in a car with King Jay.
"The way it happened so quickly like that, I thought there's something not right," Laster says. "What was said and what that image was wasn't ringing true."
Her suspicion is now confirmed by San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, who revealed the abduction was staged during a news conference on Monday.
"We believe that the story of the kidnapping was made up," Chief McManus said. "(It was) made up to cover up foul play."
Laster says "foul play" could mean a wide range of things.
"Perhaps he is injured," she says. "Perhaps he's deceased. Perhaps some accident happened. Perhaps somebody lost their temper. Maybe he was traded for something of value. You have to leave it all on the table until you get the answers."
Her message to the people who have those answers is clear.
"Be an adult and answer for what happened," she says. "Explain where the child is. There's no excuse not to."