Diary of a Mother's Mission

My son, Kevin Martin, disappered under mysterious circumstances in the wee hours of July 18, 2004. His partial remains were found on February 1, 2005 in the river. The Des Moines Police have not been helpful and this is my blog to tell what I have done as it's done.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

1505 Pleasant Street

Thursday I went over to talk to Martha, Kevin's and my former landlady. I missplaced a couple of cake pans and thought I might have left them in the oven in my apartment when I left there. One other time I checked the cabinets and drawers but failed to check the oven. There wasn't a whole lot of cabinet space and so I could have stuck them there out of sight. Martha told me that the building had been sold to a young couple who will move the building and then refurbish it. It has been vacant for a few years now as we were all required to leave after the city inspector, a new one on the job, closed down the house. As unusual or bad the house was, I think we were all sad to go.

This was Kevin's first apartment. I think his was the worst one in the place. When I moved out here in August '01 I moved upstairs to the vacant apartment just over Kevin's. Well, I could tell stories about the place but there isn't the time. Kevin did move up the street to 1721 Pleasant and then to 1808 Pleasant. Again ,I don't know whether at any point in Kevin's life he would have had fond memories of his first apartment, we'll never know, but I think he would have. I certainly have fond memories since it was my first residence in Des Moines and I lived upstairs from Kevin. I walk by the house often on my walks and many times I'll go and sit on the porch for a few minutes and imagine and remember Kevin coming and going almost thinking that perhaps I could turn back the hands of time and any minute now he'll be coming over the hill on his way home from Flanagan's.

I talked to Martha. I don't know whether she knows Kevin is gone. She would certainly recognize him if she saw him as she did me. For the longest time I didn't want to stop as I was afraid she would ask about Kevin but she didn't. I'll always remember when I was putting in my application to live there and didn't even have a job yet, she said that the only reference I needed was that I was Kevin's mother. That was good enough for her.

Wilbur, her husband is gone, sad to say. He was 96 and died in February she said. She said it has been really difficult and sometimes it doesn't even seem real that he is gone. I wanted to say I know exactly how she is feeling, as much of the time the fact that Kevin is gone doesn't seem to be real to me, but I didn't say anything. As I said I don't know whether she knows or not. Actually, now that I think of it, I don't think she does know as She would have said what a wonderful young man he was. I can just hear her as she never hesitated to compliment and praise him.

So it's going to be really sad when they move the house away. I think it still will be in the Sherman Hill area she said. It supposedly is the oldest house around. Whether it's worth renovating, I don't know, but it won't be the same house that Kevin and I shared at 1505 Pleasant Street.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another Reality Check

This morning I turned on the National news as I do every morning before going to work. I don't have cable and since I get home too late in the evening this is my only opportunity to catch the national headlines. Sometimes I feel at a real loss not having cable because I know I'm missing out on continued coverage of stories that the nightly news (or morning national coverage) has dropped in lieu of the latest "top" stories. This morning on CBS they had an update on the Natalie Holloway case as well as a new story of two missing boys from Milwaukie.

It seems that there might be a break in the Natalie Holloway case and the officer, I forget who he was, felt that they would have answers and even as to her where-a-bouts on the island of Aruba. A parent of the two missing boys said that it was not like them to wander off. It was not like Kevin to take off either but this fell on deaf ears. The police and or other authorities in Milwaukie have been searching, combing the area. I think they even said a diver had checked near or in water in the area. An airplane was doing surviellance from the air. This is not the first time I have been confronted by these scenes and stories. This has happened many times over the past year and a half and it was media coverage like this which prompted me to write to the Des Moines police chief and question what they were doing. I watch the news. I see these pictures of the police. A police spokesperson is updating the media as to their progress and what they are doing. Search dogs are seen. This is the way it should be and seems to be in other parts of the country. Many times I watched these same scenarios when I was still in New York. If not Natalie Holloway it was another young woman. If not these two boys then another young person. I spoke to the local police in my own home town many times about Craig Freer and what the police did regarding missing persons. I spoke to the Albany police as well.

Then I get upset and angry. I think to myself "what is going on here". And reality hits me. The reality that something is really wrong. The police, here, discouraged me from having a search and wouldn't send anyone to help either. The police in Scotia were not only there to make sure that no one got hurt but they ran the organizational part of the search that day, as well, to make sure things ran as smoothly as possible. 6 weeks after Kevin disappeared the police took one statement from one of the guys who was last seen with him. Yes, they did put his name on the National Register but that was about it. The discription wasn't even accurate until I had it corrected.

Saturday evening 48 hours is having a special on the Natalie Holloway case at 10:00 p.m. Perhaps that's part of the reason CBS had it on the news again. Publicity for the show. But none the less this has been a high profile case, possibly because these people have money too,($100,00.00 - 200,00.00 for information) and apparently it has succeeded. It has succeeded and a thousand others have gone unnoticed. Why? But at least in other parts of the country things are being done to a certain extent, at least initially. I get a little miffed when I hear how the police or Crime stoppers put up 500.00 dollars for information about the death of a dog that was suspicious - and someone else contributed 1,000.00 dollars. The police put up $1,000.00 for information regarding Kevin. They wouldn't send any help to the search and yet there were two uniformed police at Flanagan's St. Paddy's day party to maintain order and safety?

So I have to face reality once again. I'm not the same person I was a year and a half ago. I can look at things differently now (hopefully more objectively) and the further we get from July 18th the harder it is getting to buy, to believe, what has gone on over the past year and a half. Another reality check... The reality that certain things are becoming clearer to me. Maybe I'm a little closer to the truth and it isn't pleasant and actually it might be very scary. I hope I'm not right but I might be...

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Well I did make it to Flanagan's on Friday after work. I certainly didn't have to worry about dampening anybody's spirit since I'm sure no one saw me plus I was in and out in 15 minutes. I was totally unprepared for the wall to wall people filling the hugh tent. One had to push and shove gently to get anywhere and I barely made it to the corned beef and cabbage. Thinking back I think I did stop by one afternoon (St. Patrick's Day) to see Kevin as they were all setting up for the evening. I don't remember much about it but I was inside the tent. Someone went to look for Kevin for me. I'm sure I didn't stay too long because he would have been very busy. This year St. Paddy's Day fell on a Friday night and so maybe that had alot to do with the magnitude of the festivities. Not only at Flanagan's but else where too. There was a traffic jam in front of the Embassy Suites on our bus route as they had something going on late afternoon as well. The thing that really amazed me though is that I had talked to Kevin many times about this night but had gotten no indication from him of how busy an event this really was! Not that he was misinforming me. I think it's just he can be very low-key to nonexpressive about things.

As I was walking toward the tent I saw a young man who reminded me of Kevin. That in turn reminded me about Colin, a young man who worked at Toy's R Us in Clifton Park near Scotia and Schenectady. I'm sure he had been working there for quite awhile although I didn't get over there as much and so just ran into him last Spring. He was a Kevin look-a-like! I was so taken aback. The hair was a little longer and a little darker. His eyes were hazel not blue like Kevin's very blue eyes. He was a little smaller in build and a few years younger. But he still looked so much like Kevin it was uncanny. The way he walked, his mannerisms, his politeness, so Kevin. It was almost eerie. But as much as I wanted it to be Kevin it was another young man. I went back a couple of times and saw him there. I wanted to tell him that he reminded me so much of my son but I didn't. As young as he was, just graduating from high school, he probably would have felt vey uncomfortable. Perhaps when I go back to New York I will see if he still works there. Perhaps at that point I will tell him, if that is at all right. He is a unique individual and not Kevin and my interest in him is because he reminds me of Kevin. So I don't know whether he would be flattered by the resemblence or not. But to have seen him and to know there's someone walking around who reminds me of Kevin is comforting for some reason.

For awhile there I guess I saw Kevin everywhere. There was even a young man at Camp Givah outside of Albany, a Summer camp, who reminded me of Kevin. I still see him, will turn and look if I see blonde hair or a young guy with the same slender build and his hat on backwards (although that's not only Kevin but the style of his generation) That's what happened Friday night as I was about to enter the tent. I would have followed the young man to get a better look but it would have been impossible to find him amongst the throngs and just as well I didn't. Just as it's a good thing I left Schenectady, too, as I probably would have made a fool of myself gawking at the young man, Colin, who reminded me so much of Kevin - and he, I'm sure was very Irish too.

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day

This is one of those other anniversary dates that I spoke of which brings happiness and sorrow because it was a special day for Kevin. Maybe not as special to him as I make it out to be or as special as it has become to me but a special day, I think. This morning I drove a different way to work so that I could go by Flanagan's to see if the big white tent was put up yet. It was. Each year they have this special celebration which I'm sure was alot of extra work for Kevin and the others but I still think it was something he looked forward to. Kevin is very Irish anyway and was well aware and proud of his heritage so it wasn't only the flanagan's once a year party which would have meant something to him.

I thought of stopping at Flanagan's after work. I don't know whether I will or not. I guess my feeling is that my presence there might dampen the festivities, at least for the short time I'm there anyway. That's sad, isn't it? It has brought to mind my many visits to Flanagan's shortly after Kevin disappeared. On many occasions I was greeted cooly almost to the point of feeling not welcome there. But really instead of trying to define the way they reacted to me I guess I could just say that I don't think they reacted in a normal way. Many of them, not all of them. I could understand people feeling uncomfortable because they didin't quite know what to say but this was not that way in my opinion. My opinion was that they felt uncomfortable for other reasons. Many times, and especially now as I look back on it, some of Kevin's friends and or co-workers did not act in an appropriate way towards the mother of their friend who was supposedly missing.

As I mentioned before I visited Flanagan's once many months after I arrived here in Des Moines. Flanagan's was such a special place to Kevin but that day I didn't get a really strong feeling of connectedness with him. I was glad for that although there were many special times when I sat next to him at the bar and talked with him. So I certainly have special memories which I would like to hold onto - and forget the unpleasant ones. So perhaps I will drop by this evening. I think this was a really special day for him and so perhaps I will get that kind of feeling as I sit in his surroundings and toast him - Happy St. Patrick's Day Kevin, Sweetheart.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Recently I've been going over pictures of Kevin. Something I've done periodically since he disappeared. Putting together photos to give the private investigator. Most recently trying to find the best picture to give the Des Moines Register columnist for her article on Kevin. I have some special ones too that were given to me. Pictures taken over the Christmas holidays, 2003, when I last saw Kevin. Pictures of Brian and Kevin, of Kevin and Sarah and then mostly pictures of Brian and Jaylynn. There are bunches of pictures of Kevin growing up which I have. As I mentioned before, I really think Kevin liked having his picture taken, or if he didn't, he at least would rise to the occasion and put on his best smile.

Pictures are a comfort to me and yet at other times they're upsetting to me. Much of my life I haven't cared for photos. I guess it depends on the occasion. They can bring back painful memories as well as pleasant ones. People most always smile in pictures even if they are unhappy so I guess that's what bothers me the most. In Kevin's case I'm so thankful for each and every picture I have of him.

Yesterday I spoke to a man I had spoken to before regarding Kevin. He said that he was so sorry for the loss of my son and that it must be unfathomable. This is a word I've used myself and yet that word doesn't even say it all. This morning I had one of those times or moments, although it has lasted more than that, where I all-of-a-sudden am over taken by feelings of well being. Where my utter feelings of loss and despair were replaced by calm and peace and comfort. A feeling that Kevin was fine and with me and not to worry. I am so elated, as I've said before. It has been a while since I've had this feeling and so it is a joy. There are other times when I get a panicy feeling when the stark reality hits me. But for now I won't think of that but will revel in my uplifted spirits this morning.

Once again I'm going to get together a few more photos which will hopefully go on Kevin's website. So, I have all of these images of Kevin when he was alive. Pictures of him at all different ages. I use to work at a Flea market and remember seeing pictures there. Lots of them which I half glanced at. The proprietor would buy out the contents of homes in the area. They were all pictures of people who were real and had a life story to tell. I guess the next time I'm at a flea market I will look differently at those photos as I now look very differently at Kevin's photos.

Kevin was very real and had a life story to tell too. He isn't real to us anymore. He is gone. And yet we have photographs which aren't real. They are images. And yet they survive...I look at these images of Kevin all the time. I guess it makes me question reality. What is real. What isn't. And then the disbelief. How could this be happening?

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Seems like I'm back where I was last September. Now I'm settled in, sort of, on my job for 6 months - not that it's any easier. The split shift, and all, and once again I'm under the weather one too many times since I arrived back in Des Moines. Progress? Very little. Two trips to the police last August-Sept. with the same results as I had previously. Nothing had changed and they had no intention of doing anything more. My little ray of hope after contacting the dog handlers and a diver was short lived. They were going to keep me informed. What a joke. After the river was flooded at the end of the boating season at Saylorville Lake I didn't hear a word from them. This was after they told me they would keep me posted. Kevin's story was in the paper on February 1st, the anniversary of finding his remains. The police now had a body. I was repeatedly told there was nothing they could do unless someone came forward or they found a body. They didn't find the body. A fisherman did but they still did nothing more. There was no further investigation. A friend of Kevin's got in touch with me and that is the only positive hopefull thing that has happened!

A week ago, into the beginning of the week as well, there was a report on the news on a fourth investigation into the death of Pat Tillman at the request of his family. A fourth attempt. In my opinion KEVIN NEVER EVEN GOT ONE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION. Of course, Pat Tillman was an NFL football player who decided to join the military. That was an outstanding, admirable thing to do and I don't begrudge any amount of investigations into his death. I do begrudge the lack of investigation on Kevin's behalf. Patrick Tillman's family wants to know the truth about their son's death. THE TRUTH. And I want to know the truth about Kevin's death.

This week at work, for the second time in a couple of months, someone brought and distributed fliers concerning a missing young woman. I'm sure this is done frequently as the bus drivers at the MTA are out on the streets all the time. I try to catch the news as much as I can but didn't hear much if anything on these two young women who are apparently missing. Both of these young women are under 18 years of age. I wanted to call, especially regarding this most recent situation and so I picked up one of the fliers. What do I say to these people? Basicly all I have to share with them is discouragement and, yes, we did find Kevin's remains. Hopefully their situation will turn out differently and their loved ones will be found. So I'm really left where I was last September... I know what I'm faced with. I was faced with it right from the beginning and so perhaps that's why it's taking me so long...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Suicide Continued

As much as I've thought about this subject, even before Kevin died, I'm still not sure whether I have all my thoughts together. During the last year and a half I've talked to people about it and received different insights - including one which I forgot to include the other day. I guess I'll start with that before giving some of my own opinions on the subject. Not that we ever have an original opinion about anything. My ideas are formulated from my experience and education, from books and schooling taught by others, reading books written by others. My friend mentioned that people who committ suicide usually don't change their method. Usually the ones who do committ suicide don't talk about it, they just do it. They're usually not the ones who make attempts which, I've been told, is more a cry for help than a serious suicide attempt.

There are probably only a handful of people on the face of this earth who have never thought about suicide at one point or another in their life. This doesn't mean that they would ever try. It's more a philosophical question as people try to come to terms with their life and what it means and what it would mean if they were not here. I don't know the point when it crosses a line because, as I said, attempts can be made for various reasons. Most people think about it but that's as far as it goes.

Unlike alot of people, though, I don't think it is against the law as it is in some states including Iowa and New York (another reason, in my opinion, why an investigation should have been done immediately if it is in fact against the law to committ suicide or attempt to take ones own life) I do believe that it is between the person and their God not the person and the State. Dishonor? No. Tragic if a person, especially a young person, despairs and accidentally takes his life. Gets something in their head, does something impulsively, realizes it but then it's too late. Fortunately I believe there is more to it than this. There has to be. I can't believe that an infinite God would dispurse finite morality.

The reality, in my opinion, is that we all have the choice to live or to die. Any one of us could take our own life if we chose to. To take our own life is one thing, though, to have someone else take our life is murder. If Kevin chose to take his own life, which I don't believe, that was his decision and I would have to accept that as much as I disagreed with it. It would have been his choice and I would find that much easier to accept than if someone hurt him and took his life which took his life choices away from him...

As I've said before, I haven't had time to research this topic so hopefully I will in the near future and so gain more insight on this issue.