Mackerley Family Still Hopes 6 Years After Kidnapping
May 02, 1990by KAREN YURCONIC, The Morning Call
Hope and luck are what Sheila and Harold Mackerley are praying will bring their 13 year old son, Louis, home before the sixth anniversary of his abduction in Allentown.
Louis, whose name and trusting face have been seen in missing children’s campaigns across the country and overseas, will be the subject of tonight’s “Crime Watch” segment during the 11 o’clock WPVI TV news broadcast seen locally on Channel 6.
But this time, people will see an FBI computer enhanced portrait aging Louis to 13. He was 7 years old when he was kidnapped June 7, 1984, by a str adidas superstar anger while playing in broad daylight near his Chew Street home.
Fliers, posters, milk cartons, billboards, grocery bags and other forms of communication carried a picture of 7 year old Louis until 1987, when an artist working with the Allentown Police De adidas superstar partment created what she and family thought Louis looked like at age 10.
That, sometimes pictured next to the last school portrait the Mackerleys had of their friendly and hyperactive son, was the way Sheila Mackerley watched Louis grow up.
For the first time yesterday she saw what a computer showed her son might look like as a teen ager.
“I’m angry and adidas superstar hurt,” she said of her reaction to the new picture, “because I don’t know what my son looks like at 13. He should be here; I should be watching him grow up. I shouldn’t have to be told by someone else, especially a machine, what he looks like at 13.”
Mrs. Mackerley said she would watch the news show tonight not to increase her hope but out of interest to see what portions of an interview were retained an adidas superstar d what the picture looks like in color. “I’ll watch it, and I’ll cry.”
She said she was disappointed that Louis’ hairstyle wasn’t changed from the time he was kidnapped to the new composite. “I just hope people will realize they should look at the eyes, nose, mouth and not the hair that the hair should be updated.”
Mrs. Mackerley said she is happy but apprehensive about the release of the new picture. Along with the reassurance that police are continuing their investigation, she said she relives the pain of not knowing what happened to the second eldest of the couple’s four children.
FBI Special Agent Edward Carpino arranged to have pictures of Mr. and Mrs.
Dennis Buckley, supervisor of the FBI’s Allentown office, said police will never close the case. “We sincerely believe Louis is alive today. We have no indications to show otherwise,” he said.
Although he would not talk about any clues in the case, Buckley reaffirmed there is an element of luck involved in any investigation. The more people who see and hear about Louis, Buckley said, the better the chances of someone providing a tip, no matter how insignificant they think it is, about anything they saw or heard recently or years ago.
“With the right circumstances and luck,” said Buckley, “Louis will contact us, or somebody will be able to tell us about him.”
Joseph Hanna, the Allentown detective recently assigned to take over the case, said he is working closely with the FBI to constantly review information and reinterview people to glean details that may have been previously overlooked.
Police are encouraging anyone who has old or new information about Louis to call the FBI at 433 6488 or Allentown detectives at 437 7721. The 24 hour FBI telephone number is (215) 829 2700. There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to Louis and an additional $5,000 for his safe return.
The emotions of Louis’ parents, brothers and sister, Sheila, 8, have been up and down with the hundreds of leads since the child vanished after leaving Marco’s hot dog shop on Gordon Street that summer day.
“Harold went through a time when kids blamed him for his brother’s disappearance,” Mrs. Mackerley said. “He locked himself in the house the first month his brother disappeared, and the first time he ventured out he got mugged by a bunch of people. He took karate to learn how to protect himself.”
Louis’ father, like Harold Jr., says the anger sometimes gets replaced by a feeling of futility balanced by constant hope. “You take one day at a time,” Mackerley said. “I don’t try to get my hopes up or down. I try to stay normal.”
Sheila Mackerley said, “You suppress a lot of anger, a lot of tears. You can’t quite describe how you spend six years. You’re told you’re brave, strong.”
She praised former Allentown Detective Barry Giacobbe, who initially dove into the case and still keeps tabs on how the Mackerleys are doing. “I got used to Giacobbe,” Mrs. Mackerley said. “I hounded that man for almost four years. He was a friend. When he left (the police department), I think I died a little bit. I can’t just call up new agents and cry to them.”