Little Alexander Lathe may have diabetes and needs to see a doctor badly, something his mother did not know when she took the 3-year-old Severn boy earlier this month and disappeared, according to the child's father.
Julie Ann Lathe, 22, of Frederick, allegedly disappeared with Alexander during a weekend visit.
"We're just really scared," said Bernard Readmond, 25. "We have this perfect, perfect kid who could drop dead at any moment. More than anything, I just want my son back."
"I am turning every stone that I possibly can," said Anne Arundel County Detective Edward White, who has spent much of his own time investigating the case. "It is not the kind of case that I'm willing to let sit on my desk."
Alexander had been ill over the past several weeks with sudden fevers, unslakeable thirst, near-constant urinating and diarrhea -- all warning signs of juvenile onset diabetes. He had been to the pediatrician several times and was scheduled to return May 11 for a two-hour diabetes test.
But the weekend of May 8 was the weekend his mother was scheduled to have him. Readmond has not seen him since.
According to Readmond, he has been taking care of Alexander since October, when Lathe called from North Carolina, saying she could no longer care for their son. He said he did not hear from Lathe again until this spring when she moved back to Maryland. She said she wanted to see Alexander again.
Readmond had her sign over full custody of the boy.
'It made him upset'
Her every-other-week visitation rights began last month. The night of April 26, she returned the boy to his Severn home and wept in the boy's room, said Carrie Lippert, Readmond's fiancee.
"She spent about 20 minutes crying with him," said Lippert, 23. "It made him upset. It took him a while to get over that."
According to Lippert, later that night Lathe called the house, upset, saying she wanted to see more of Alexander and fretting that the couple would take the boy after they were married. On May 8, Lathe appeared distraught when she arrived to pick up the boy.
"She had on her pajamas, her eyes were sunken in her head," Readmond said. "She looked like she had lost a lot of weight really fast. We just gave her Alex and kissed him goodbye."
Warrant for her arrest
That was the last time the couple saw the boy. About 7 p.m. on Mother's Day, they got a frantic call from Lathe's roommate saying the woman had packed her bags and her car and she was taking Alexander.
Readmond called police, then rushed to Lathe's Frederick home. She ran out the back door with the boy before she could be stopped, Readmond said.
A few days later, Anne Arundel County police had a warrant for her arrest on a charge of parental abduction.
White and Readmond have looked into leads from Florida to Vermont over the past week; none has panned out.
"Everybody's goal is to make sure the child is safe," White said, adding that Lathe is "a very mixed-up person. I've got a lot of people telling me she's a very good person, but she's had a rough couple of weeks. I just think she's been making some bad decisions."
Alexander Jacob Lathe is about 2 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 30 pounds. He has blond hair, blue eyes and an inch-long scar on the right side of his neck underneath his jaw. He was wearing white Adidas tennis shoes with blue and orange markings.
Julie Ann Lathe is 5 feet 2, about 105 pounds with blue eyes and short, dark blond hair. She also goes by the name Ruffner.
Anyone with information about the two can contact White at fTC 410-222-6155.
Pub Date: 5/24/98