Joshua Calloway

Lt. Douglas Heller was listed as missing in action during his second tour of the Vietnam War in 1968.  Elizabeth Heller never quite tackled the adverse loss of her beloved and developed a drinking problem which lead to her spiraling downfall.  Raising two children while her husband disappeared in a dense jungle in some foreign country had not been her idea of the perfect family.  Her alcoholism led to dancing at a local bar that catered to the more carnal side of the Salt Lake City populace.  Prostitution followed shortly thereafter in an effort to maintain some financial stability for her children and to fuel her vices.  A faulty method of birth control left her pregnant with a son in the spring of 1973 to an unknown father.

Joshua Malcolm Heller was born February 3, 1974, five weeks premature, following a devastating car accident which hospitalized his mother for two weeks.  His older half-sister of six years was psychologically traumatized, and his older half-brother of eight years perished.

Eye witness accounts stated that an old Chevy Nova was careening down the city street shortly after area schools had let out.  A small parade of elementary school aged children was crossing Dogwood Street as the vehicle came hurtling into view.  The crossing guard grabbed one of the straggling children just as the Nova swerved toward the curb.  Both the crossing guard, thirty-seven year old Natalie Fisher and the child, seven year old Megan Wilson, were struck by the vehicle and thrown well in excess of twenty yards.  The Chevy smashed into the corner building, and young Nathan Heller was hurled into oncoming traffic where he died under the wheels of a cement truck.  Megan Wilson was pulled from the dead arms of Natalie Fisher and rushed to St. Frances Medical Center where she died of complications two days later.

After her discharge from St. Frances, Elizabeth Heller was sentenced to fourteen years in the Utah State Penal Facility for three counts of involuntary vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, endangering the life of a minor, operating a vehicle without proper licensure and driving under the influence – second offense.

Joshua’s older sister Carla underwent weeks of psychiatric evaluation and intensive therapy.  On April second she was committed to the Utah State Medical Hospital, where she was ultimately diagnosed with delusional, manic-depressive schizophrenia brought on by the psychological trauma of witnessing the brutal destruction of her family.

Joshua remained under intensive care for three and a half weeks and spent another two weeks in acute care before being released.  Elizabeth Heller’s parents, Antoine and Jeanette Goodman, lived in Quebec, Canada, having had almost no contact with their youngest daughter over their disagreement about her choice of husband years ago.  Elizabeth’s brother, Jason Goodman, had barely enough time for his Los Angeles law firm, wife and two mistresses, let alone a newborn nephew.  So Joshua was placed with Elizabeth’s only sister, Gina Goodman.  At twenty-nine, missionary Gina Goodman had seen much of the world and was currently serving in several capacities in a Cairo to Congo archaeological dig at the time she adopted Joshua.

For nearly seven years Joshua was home schooled by Gina on the dark continent of Africa.  The young boy traveled from Cairo to the Congo, participated in several different archaeological digs, journeyed on two safaris, and visited many different places and peoples during his youth.  Joshua picked up on several local languages as a child and showed extreme interest in hieroglyphs and other ancient symbols.  He began at an early age to understand the intrinsic value of artifacts and languages from the past.

In Joshua’s fourth year, Gina Goodman fell in love with and married Dr. Louis Grey, an American anthropologist studying in Africa through a government grant.

In his sixth year, Gina and Joshua reached a mature decision to send the boy back to the United States to live with Dr. Grey and school from his home near Washington, D.C.  He began his formal schooling at Malone Valley Elementary School in Maryland in the third grade at the age of seven.  Joshua found it challenging to integrate himself with the less mature and selfish children of American society.  Having been a highly developed, intelligent and frail boy, he had difficulty making friends and tended to be quiet and reserved most of the time.

Six and a half years after the birth of her son Joshua, at the age of thirty-four, Elizabeth Heller was paroled for good behavior and relocated to Reno, Nevada with the court’s permission.  In an effort to create a suitable financial outlook for both her parole officer and her young son, she began dancing and waitressing at a popular new club called Wild Monkeys.

After nearly two years on parole and some subtle inquiries as to her son’s whereabouts, Elizabeth headed east to reclaim her son.  Traveling by automobile, she departed the day after her appointment with her parole officer, so as to allow herself ample time to track the boy down and return home with him.

“I’m coming, Joshua.  Mother’s coming,” she spoke to the emptiness of the car.  How many times had she uttered those words, the words she lived by?  They got her through prison, through the dark nights and the beatings, through the savagery and sadism, and now, they were about to come true.

Three days before eight year old Joshua was to begin his fifth grade education, she came.

The August night was rubber smother hot, making each breath labored and hard won.  The deep red and purple haze in the western sky insured the warmth of the sun had not yet yielded to the creeping chill of night.

A silent shadow floated through the dark recesses of the grounds toward the rear patio of the large ranch style house.  One hundred and seventy-five pounds of stealth, Elizabeth’s deft movements would have impressed even a seasoned cat burglar.  Stealing into the house with her subtle grace, she covered the boy’s mouth with a rag soaked in ether.  Joshua struggled briefly but did not awaken even when the doors of the old station wagon slammed around him.

Elizabeth returned to Nevada with Joshua and changed her name to Abigail Morris.  She held the young boy as a captive, trying to win him over through various means, love, bribery, fear.  Joshua would have none of it.  She had destroyed any chance at trust by stealing him away in the middle of the night from the one woman who had ever given him the love and attention he needed.

The following day Dr. Grey contacted the authorities, right after he called a friend from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a private detective that owed him a favor.  Gina Grey’s flight had been delayed from the evening before until the following day at noon.  Dr. Grey sat her down upon her arrival, and they discussed what had happened.  They both agreed that there was some sort of foul play afoot.  The only person that had motive, save a random kidnapping, was Joshua’s mother.

Dr. Grey had to leave the next day for a conference in Sweden, and he asked Gina to promise that she would leave the searching to the authorities.  There was no need to risk herself.  Outwardly she agreed.  Inwardly she had already begun the search herself.

Gina was on the phone with a high school friend in California before her husband’s plane was in the air.  A well coordinated effort on the parts of Gina, her high school friend, the private detective and Dr. Grey’s FBI contact led to a highly effective search, location and seizure of the kidnapped boy.

Joshua remembers the first night he encountered a tactical assault in crystal clear detail…

…It was on the third night after my lunatic mother took me from my home.  I was handcuffed to the bed upstairs in the attic, the same way I had been for the previous two nights.  Cold, alone and frightened to some degree, I had trouble falling asleep.  My mother kept odd hours and would often come to me during the night to try and sway my heart to her.  I just never knew what to expect.

That night however, as I stared at the rafters, something was different.  Maybe it was the nocturnal creatures falling silent, or a smell coming through the window, or a glimpse of light, or something…but I knew they were coming for me.  Don’t ask me to explain it.  It’s kind of spooky to revisit.  Very much like when you experience deja vu.

Anyway, I heard a loud crash downstairs, voices shouting and footsteps running all through the house.  A single set of steps approached the attic entrance and the ladder was pulled down from the ceiling.

A light shone up through the opening as my mother climbed into view with a flashlight and said, “Time to go honey.”  With that, she grabbed me and reached for the handcuffs.  I thought I saw a glint of metal against the moonlight.  As I was released and we whirled toward the attic entrance, a bright light hit my mother in the face and a voice shouted, “Down!”

I hesitated.  I failed to grasp that the command was directed at me, and within that heartbeat, my mother had me clutched to her with a large kitchen knife perched at my throat.

“Let the boy go, lady!  No one has to get hurt,” the voice tried to reason with her.

“This is my son!  Get out of here!  Get out of my house!!” Elizabeth shrieked.

“Ma’am, just put the knife down…”

“I’ll kill him!  I swear I will!  I’ll take his head clean off!” she threatened.

I remember spending an instant contemplating the absurdity of the remark, followed by guessing the force that would be required to behead me.

The voice from the ladder tried again, “Ma’am, there is nowhere to go.  Please, just drop the knife and we’ll see what we can do about letting your son stay with you.”

The knife dropped an inch as Elizabeth hesitated, “You mean…you mean he could come with me?” another heartbeat and her mind changed, “No!  You’re lying!”  The knife pressed sharply into my throat.  “You bastards!  You’re trying to steal my son again!”

She began to stumble back toward the window, as she said, “You can’t have him.  Do you hear me?”  We drew a few steps closer, and I didn’t fancy the idea of plummeting two stories to the pavement with a mad woman and a butcher knife.

The man at the attic opening completed his ascent, stepping into the attic as a second light emerged from below him.

“Stay back!  I don’t want to hurt him.  But, I won’t let you take him.  I won’t!” my mother sobbed, tears rolling down her face as her head dropped.

The men with the lights took this as weakness, but when my mother looked up, she wasn’t crying and there was steel in her gaze.

In a voice unlike any I have heard, she said, “We’ll see you in hell.”  Her knife arm leapt into the air for the killing blow.  I remember looking up at that long blade dancing with light and not feeling a bit afraid.

A hand shot out of the darkness from behind my mother and wrapped itself firmly about her wrist.  She squealed in startled rage, and suddenly she was catapulted across the attic, smashing into the rafters and crumpling to the ground.

The men with lights were on her immediately.  I turned around and saw a man emerge from the shadows.  “Everything will be fine, Joshua,” he said.

I remember feeling such power, such control coming from him.  He had engineered the entire situation, just waiting for his moment to strike.  But how did he get into the attic in the first place…

The courts of Nevada wanted to strike a deal with Elizabeth Heller.  A lesser sentence if she would relinquish all legal claims to her son Joshua.  To no one’s surprise she said no.  Actually, she said, “Fuck you, pig.”  But those are just details.  The judge sentenced her to twelve years in the Nevada State Penal Facility pending a psychiatric evaluation.

Upon hearing the sentence for the kidnapping, Gina was extremely unsatisfied with the outcome.  Once Elizabeth began her sentence, it would only be a few years before she was free.  So Gina made a decision to relocate Joshua on the day of his mother’s second incarceration to the unlikely location of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Under a new name, Joshua Calloway, at the age of twelve, began his high school education at Oakdale High School in the city of his birth.  Gina Grey purchased a small house in the suburbs in which the two of them lived comfortably.  Dr. Grey flew in on the weekends to spend time with his wife and her nephew.  And three years later, Elizabeth Heller, a.k.a. Abigail Morris, was paroled from the Nevada State Penal Facility and promptly vanished.

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