An anonymous letter sent to media outlets around the region claiming that the missing 12-year-old, Jaliek Rainwalker, is alive and was "picked up" on Route 40 is being investigated by police.
The lawyer for Jaliek's adoptive parents said Thursday he and his clients believe only Jaliek could have provided the information contained in the cryptic, typewritten letter received by The Post-Star and a number of local television stations.
"There's some very specific information there that could have come only from him," said lawyer Jeffrey McMorris. "There's only one explanation. It's Jaliek."
McMorris would not elaborate.
Jocelyn McDonald, Jaliek's adoptive mother, would not comment on the letter when reached by phone Saturday, and her husband, Stephen Kerr, did not return a phone call for comment.
Kerr has been named a "person of interest" in the police investigation of the unexplained disappearance.
The Post-Star received the typewritten letter on Wednesday, as did at least three Albany-area television stations. Cambridge-Greenwich Police and State Police requested the letters to check them for fingerprints and other forensic evidence, and
The Post-Star, WTEN-TV Channel 10, Capital News 9 and WNYT-TV NewsChannel 13 have turned them over, State Police said.
The letter, which contained no return address and was postmarked "Westchester, NY," reads:
"Jaliek still alive
Needed a foot soldier for this war on drugs
Picked him up Rt 40 Post 30
He says asks his Mama and Papa
You have free articles remaining.
Who are the macaronni family?
My cat name diamond?
Why does Franti yell fire?
Don't try to look we are not there."
Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell said police were looking into the significance of the statements, but it was unclear early Thursday what they meant. Investigators were working with the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service's postal inspectors to try to determine where the letter was mailed.
"It's strange," said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright. "It's something they are going to check out completely."
There is a Westchester County in New York, just north of New York City, and according to some listings, there is a Westchester community in ZIP code 10461, in the Bronx.
Bell said it was unclear whether there was any significance to the statements in the letter. He said police were waiting to talk to McMorris to find out if Kerr and McDonald see any significance to the correspondence.
"It's too early to say anything," he said.
Bell said police have not been made aware of any similar letters during the investigation.
The last reference, to Franti, appears to be a reference to rap musician Michael Franti, who in 2006 put out an album titled "Yell Fire!" with the band Spearhead.
Jaliek has been missing since Nov. 2, when he disappeared from a Hill Street, Greenwich, home where, Kerr told police, the two of them had spent the previous night.
Kerr has repeatedly said he believes Jaliek ran away and joined a street gang, but police have said there is no evidence of that. Weeks of searching the Greenwich area also produced no clues as to his whereabouts.
Police earlier this month said there were numerous inconsistencies in Kerr's version of events of the hours before Jaliek was reported missing.
McMorris said he has hired a private investigator to work on the case.