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Man Watches Mom’s Wedding Video, Realizes Mistake

The Truth 

Let his eyes drift from the crackle of the old videotape, he recalled how his parents had been in their younger days. They had been so young at the time. Their happiness was contagious.

It caught his attention when he glanced back at the screen. A feeling of fear paralyzed him, causing the blood to drain from his face. 

He caught a glimpse of the strange man’s watch as he reached out to his mom, the kind that indicated wealth and power to everyone around him. His forced smile revealed his hideous façade, however.  


A Difficult Task 

During his cleanup of his parents’ San Francisco home, 35-year-old Mike Walling endured a tough day.

Despite being an only child, Mike had a deep love for his parents.

In the years after his father passed away, he just couldn’t bring himself to go through their belongings. The house would be sold soon, so he could no longer avoid it. 


He Lived A Good Life 

Mike’s early childhood was full of happiness from what he remembered. There were no fights between his parents, and he was loved unconditionally and treated with kindness. 

It made him feel lucky that he came from such a loving house and had parents he could count on.

There was more to the story than what first appeared. 

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A Sudden Change 

At nine years old, Mike’s mother disappeared. There was a formal investigation, but there were no leads, and the case quickly died down.

His father closed himself off from the outside world, so Mark lived with his grandparents. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to find closure for years. 

As the only child, he inherited his parents’ estate when his father passed away. Since he could not bear to sift through his childhood memories, he had appointed others to handle the house. 

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Watching the old wedding tape, he smiled at how young and loving his parents were, but then the tape took a darker turn. Behind them, an ominous figure smiled.

This was Mike’s first time in this house in years. When he last visited, everything was in order and in storage.

It was a very emotional day for him, and the same would happen again this time, but for all the wrong reasons. 

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Going Through Boxes 

After a short while, Mike was browsing through old videotapes. All except one were neatly labeled. 

His curiosity got the better of him, so he played the tape to see what it was. He was surprised to discover it was a video of his parent’s wedding day.

Is there a reason why this wasn’t labeled? How could he have missed it?

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Who Was This Person 

He watched with delight as the ceremony unfolded. There were his aunts and uncles he hadn’t seen in years. All of them seemed so happy and young. 

However, the camera continued to film another man. It seemed like he had a very close relationship with his parents.

Moreover, Mike seemed to recognize him vaguely. An overwhelming sense of fear washed over him. What was his name? 

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Strange Man 

His mom’s appearance became increasingly unsettled as the footage continued. In the background, one of his dad’s best men and his mom were making strange eye contact. This time it was the same strange man.  

A sudden cry of tears erupted from his mother at the altar, and her voice was filled with shouts of joy.

After his father intervened, suddenly, his parents were fighting at their altar before the video abruptly ended. The shock in Mark’s eyes left him wondering what had happened. 

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He Needed Answers

This behavior was so uncommon for his parents, according to Mike’s memories. Due to the fact that they never mentioned anything like this happening on the day of their wedding, he needed to find out what happened. 

As he searched for clues, he became more interested.

Despite knowing that the strange man had caused the tension, he didn’t understand why. Suddenly, he felt a chill down his spine as he pulled out another tape. 

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A Different Encounter

In the video, birth was recorded on 1st October 1986. His mom held Mike as he rested peacefully in her arms, but standing between his mom and dad was the same man again.

In contrast, this time, there seemed to be a great deal of happiness and joy in the family. 

What was their relationship like? What was going on? He felt that there was something very wrong. What was it? As he looked at what followed, memories flooded back to him.


Deceit And Lies

As the man reached out to hold him in the video, he caught a glimpse of the man’s watch. It was the kind of watch you’d never forget.

Expensive-looking, sharp. A watch that told everyone around him that he was a wealthy man. A man more powerful than most. 

He watched as the man lifted him to share a kiss on his forehead, and shuddered at his deceitful appearance.


Memories Recovered

Suddenly, Mike realized that somewhere within his memory lay a hidden box full of forgotten encounters with this man. And, most surprisingly, he’d seen his face recently.

He paused the video and studied him again, now looking at his clean suit and tidy haircut. He really did look immaculate.

He behaved in such a polite and respectful way that no one could ever have guessed what he did.   

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Estranged Uncle

To him, the man was his estranged uncle, Gerald. At least, that’s what his parents called him.

He was a wealthy man who used to come to his birthdays and other family occasions. He was always bringing big gifts and a welcoming smile. 

He had stopped going to family events when Mike was young, maybe about five, and Mike never knew why. What happened to him? And why did Mike feel so strange looking at him?

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Mike’s mother always avoided talking about “Uncle Gerald” once he stopped dropping by.

He remembered asking about him once only to be met with a soft voice saying not to ask about him again. 

Mike’s always knew he wasn’t as kind and generous as he appeared to be. And suddenly, it hit him. He knew where he’d seen his face before.


An Identikit Sketch

Mike had seen an identikit sketch of the man on television recently, on a rerun of an old crime show from the 80s. 

The man was a criminal who operated in the San Francisco area, linked to robberies and gang involvement.

Suddenly, everything made sense. Mike’s heart stood still and his breath became shallow.

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Needing Explanations

Judging by his mom’s character, Mike surmised that she must have found out what he was doing on her wedding day and couldn’t hold back her feelings, even at the altar. 

Mike never knew where he went, so he Googled his name. He found that he had been arrested years before he was born.

But they hadn’t been able to keep him for long.

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A Man On The Run

“Uncle Gerald’s” real name was James Kern, a man who had been on the run from police since 1977 when he escaped from a prison bus in North Carolina. 

The convict had waited at the back of the bus until it stopped by a forest before making a run for it.

Eventually, he started a new life and forged a fresh identity.

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A Bank Robbery

“Uncle Gerald” had just begun his 10-year sentence for bank robbery. After falling in with a bad crowd in his youth, he had been tempted into committing more and more serious crimes as time passed. 

He was living the high life until he eventually got caught by police and sentenced. Did this man have something to do with his mom’s disappearance?

Sweat dripped from Mike’s forehead as he slowly pulled out his phone and dialed 911.

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Handing Them Over

Mike handed the tapes over to the FBI, although he didn’t know if any of the information on them would help them solve the case. 

Strange feelings washed over him as everything he thought he knew was turned inside out.

His mother had disappeared when he was nine, and that was that. But now he had to come to grips with an unsettling feeling:  what if everything he knew was a lie?  

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The Mystery Deepens

It was a tenuous link at best, but Mike was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.

What if his parents had been inextricably involved in “Uncle Gerald’s” life of crime? 

Searching online late into the night, he found reports of sightings of the man who was permanently on the FBI’s Wanted list — some as recent as the 1990s.

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New Identity

The FBI assumed that the man had taken a new identity before he’d appeared in Mike’s life, and had possibly had several aliases since. 

Did that mean that his mom could also be alive somewhere? Mike dared to imagine what it would be like meeting her again before his heart hardened.

A tear rolled down his cheek. That would mean that she had abandoned him. Or maybe her disappearance was more sinister.

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Lost Information

Was the man that Mike knew as Uncle Gerald involved? Had he done something unspeakable?

And for what purpose? The only person who may hold some answers was Mike’s father, and now he was gone too. 

Mike hadn’t spoken to him much when he moved in with his grandparents, and their relationship had slowly fallen apart after that.

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Reopening The Case

With this new detail that Mike had provided, James Kern’s case was reopened — as well as the case of Mike’s mother’s disappearance.

The FBI used new technology to age their identikit sketches appropriately and sent out alerts across every state. 

There are at least 21,894 women missing in cases that have gone cold in the U.S. Even though these cases are cold, they can be reopened if new evidence is found. 

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Missing Details

Mike’s father, Carl, had only discussed his wife’s disappearance with his son in the vaguest terms. After all, Mike was only nine at the time. 

He was told that his mother Sylvia had packed up and left on his parents’ 20th wedding anniversary, and that was all there was to it.

The last time anyone saw her, she was happy, smiling, and surrounded by friends. But now, that made no sense.     



Around 100 people were gathered in the parish hall of the local church when Mike’s parents celebrated their milestone anniversary. 

“We were wrapping bottles in gold foil and decorating before the party, and Sylvia was pretending she was an opera singer,” said Sylvia’s cousin.

“That was what she was always like. She loved people and goofing around.” But other witnesses painted a different picture.


Beneath The Surface

Sylvia’s sister, Janet, told the police what was going on behind the scenes that day. She said that several family members had heard “Uncle Gerald” and Carl threaten Sylvia’s life on several occasions.

The police, however, were never notified – at Sylvia’s request. 

Janet explained that Carl had a drinking problem. During the years before their 20th anniversary, his drinking and behavior had gotten out of control.

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That Night

Mike didn’t remember the anniversary. His parents had held the ceremony in the local church and had a wild party at their home afterward.

Mike and the other children were sent to bed early so the adults could enjoy their drinking and dancing in peace. 

Mike went home with his grandparents in the early evening and spent the night at their home. And staying over at his grandparents wasn’t an uncommon occurrence. But there was something else that wasn’t adding up.


The Records

According to the police records, Sylvia had called her out-of-state brother, Matt, that night. She called him to come and pick her up after she and Carl had an argument after the party. But, by the time Matt arrived, she was already gone. 

“She told me he was threatening her,” Matt said. “She said to me, ‘If that happens, promise me you’ll take care of Mike.’

I told her, ‘Of course.’ And of course, I said, ‘Well, that’s not going to happen.’” Little did he know, he’d never see her again.      


Dead End

Investigators have not yet made any arrests or breakthroughs in relation to the mysterious man and Sylvia’s mysterious disappearance. 

And, according to a press release from a police spokesman, they’ve been unable to shed any light on the strange reopened case.

“Police cannot speculate what happened to the woman,” it read. And then, another potential piece of evidence disappeared.

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Six months after the new discovery was made, Mike put his parents’ property on the market. Just a few weeks later, it sold for a little under $400,000. 

At the moment, it’s unclear whether or not the new owners know the mysterious history of the home, or if there are more discoveries to be found within.

And as time passes, it seems less and less likely that Mike will ever get to the bottom of his mother’s disappearance.

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Curiosity Killed The Cat

Mike had always suspected that his estranged uncle, Gerald, had something to do with the disappearance of his mother, Sylvia.

Despite the fact that Gerald was a wanted criminal by the FBI, Mike couldn’t shake the feeling that he was involved. 

He had always been a shady character but Mark had never been able to prove it.


A Shocking Find

As he began to investigate, he discovered that his father, Carl, was also missing from the country. He couldn’t find him in America.

Could it be possible that Carl was in cahoots with Uncle Gerald all along? 

Mike was confused and needed help. He was about to have his prayers answered, he just didn’t know it.


New Evidence

One day, he received a call from the new owners of his parents’ home. They had found a book with phone numbers, bank account details, and photographs hidden under the floorboards.

Mike was immediately suspicious and contacted his uncle Matt, Sylvia’s brother, for help. 

Mike knew that this could be the break he needed to find out what had happened to his mother and to finally bring Uncle Gerald to justice.


Family Help

Mike contacted his uncle, Matt, his mother’s brother, and together they contacted the FBI. The FBI was more than happy to help and they immediately began to track down Uncle Gerald.

They soon discovered that he was living on a remote island, far away from civilization. 

Mike knew that this would be a difficult task, but he was determined to find out what had happened to his mother and to bring Uncle Gerald to justice.


A Long Journey

Mike set out on a journey to the remote island, accompanied by the FBI. It was a long and treacherous journey, but Mike was determined to succeed.

Finally, after many weeks of searching, Mike finally located Uncle Gerald. 

He was an old man now, living life on the run. Mike was shocked to see him in such a state, but he knew that he had to hear his story. He was arrested and brought to justice for his crimes.


You Are Under Arrest

Mike was relieved when the FBI finally caught Uncle Gerald, but his relief was short-lived when he received a call from an old lady.

It was his mother, Sylvia. She had been living on the run for all these years, but now she was ready to be found. 

Mike was beside himself with happiness. His mother was still alive after all these years.


Mother Tells All

Mike was shocked to see her, an old lady now. Mike’s mother told him that his father had died in a crime-related event a few years ago.

She had been forced to go on the run with Uncle Gerald, as he had threatened to harm her if she didn’t help him. 

Mike was devastated to hear this news and he found it difficult to make amends with his mother. She had become bitter and she wasn’t the same person he remembered.


A Different Lady

Despite his mother’s changed demeanor, Mike made sure she was taken care of.

He knew that he couldn’t change the past, but at least he could make sure she was safe now.

He knew that he was doing the right thing to stand by her side. She was alone now, and he needed to protect her.



As he looked back on everything that had happened, Mike realized that he had helped the FBI catch a dangerous criminal and make the world a safer place.

But at what cost? 

He had lost his mother and father and couldn’t help but feel guilty for involving them in his uncle’s criminal activities. The forlorn man felt that his life was stolen from him.


Looking Ahead

Mike felt a sense of relief knowing that Uncle Gerald was finally behind bars, but he also felt a sense of sadness knowing that his mother’s life had been ruined by him. 

Mike knew that he couldn’t change the past, but he made sure that his mother was taken care of and that she was safe.


Moving On

He knew that he would never be able to fully forgive himself for what had happened, but at least he could take solace in the fact that justice had been served.

It wasn’t his fault but he felt like he was being punished as a child.

He tried to find peace with knowing that uncle Gerald was in jail, and his mother was finally safe.


Finding Reason

Mike couldn’t help but wonder what his life would have been like if he had never started investigating his mother’s disappearance.

His longing for wanting to belong made him search for the truth.

But he knew deep down that he had to do what was right, and he couldn’t have lived with himself if he hadn’t tried to find out the truth.



Mike found that the truth can be a bitter pill to swallow, but it is always worth it in the end.

He may never be able to fully move on from the past, but he knew that he had done the right thing, and that was all that mattered. 

He tried to focus on bonding with his mother.


Family First

Mike put his mother in a smart frail care unit.

She was fully taken care of. He made an effort to visit her every day and they would have lunch and talk for hours. 

The abandoned son was in shock when he heard the wild stories about his parent’s crime adventures. He felt that he didn’t know them at all.


Starting Anew

In the end, Mike helped the FBI catch Uncle Gerald, and the world was safer. But what happened to Mike after that? Did he make amends with his mother? 

Mike knew that he could never fully forgive his mother for her actions, but he was able to forgive her, and they were able to reconcile in the end. Mike knew that he had finally found closure and could move on with his life.

Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.    


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