Colorado

Jul 1, 2010 7:23 PM by Zach Thaxton

Co. Springs Mom Marks 20 Years Since Son's Disappearance

Jean Rahier-Langness has a life no mother would like to lead.  For 20 years, she has agonized while awaiting word about what happened to her 15-year-old son Robert on July 6, 1990.

Robert was a client at the now-defunct Cheyenne Mesa youth treatment facility on South 8th Street in Colorado Springs.  He was dealing with mental problems stemming from his father's suicide earlier in his childhood.  He spoke with Jean on the morning of July 6, 1990 and said he had something important to tell her, but couldn't at the time because the phone lines were being monitored.  Jean called the staff at Cheyenne Mesa and said she wanted to come get Robert, but she was told that Robert was to participate in an outing that day and she could get in touch with him afterward.  Afterward never happened.

Robert has not been seen since.  From the beginning, the case has been treated as that of a runaway teenager.  Jean, however, insists her son wouldn't have run away -- at least not in the manner suggested for the past 20 years.  "When I received the police report, the first thing that caught my eye was this time right here," she says while pointing to a notation that says 8:45 a.m. was the time of Robert's disappearance.  "This was about the time that I was on the phone with Bobby."  The police report also lists Robert's clothing at the time of his disappearance -- a blue shirt and black pants.  "I have the blue shirt and black pants," Jean says.  "To this day, it doesn't appear like any of his clothing is missing.  I have his clothing."  Robert was considered a runaway risk at Cheyenne Mesa, which meant he was not allowed to wear shoes.  Jean says Robert had very sensitive feet and would not have run away without shoes.  "In my heart, I honestly feel like something happened there, and it's being covered up."

"We are actively investigating leads," says Detective Ron Lopez of Colorado Springs Police.  He has only been on the case for a few months, but says he's committed to finding info about what happened to Robert.  "I take it personal," he says. "I look at each case that I work like that's my child out there and how would I like it if my child was out there and I didn't know where they were at."

Computerized renderings depict what Robert may look like now at age 35.  Jean is hopeful that Robert is still alive, but aware of the possibility he may not be.  "I don't have my son and I don't have answers," she says.  "It's just very hard.  Very hard life.  I miss him a lot."

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