The day after Carolyn Butler bowed her head over a flickering candle to ask for her son's return, the phone rang.
She was overjoyed to hear the voice of her 33-year-old son, Jeffrey Tooles, who disappeared after work March 25. For four weeks, she waited and prayed for him to come home again, while neighbors plastered Annapolis with posters and formed search parties.
Tooles said her son did not tell her where he was or why he suddenly left the city.
"All I know is, he's OK," she said.
Family, friends and neighbors joined hands in a candlelight prayer vigil for Tooles two weeks ago. Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, brought Butler on stage for a moving, tearful tribute by the crowd.
"He called me the next day after the vigil," Butler said. "He didn't know any of this missing person thing. I just told him I wasn't going to pressure him, and that we loved him."
Tooles has called her twice since then, but hasn't revealed where he is, she said. He used to work delivering mail for the Department of Social Services. The last time his mother saw him was March 25, when he met her in the mailroom to pick up some money.