On January 31, William Van Croft IV went missing from his District home. He was last spotted that afternoon along the 1300 block of G Street SE. On Feb. 11, the D.C. Police Department finally posted a press release on William. He is still missing.
Today, City Desk spoke with William’s mother Jackie Van Croft.
Jackie Van Croft has organized vigils, passed out flyers, launched an internet campaign, and continues to look for her son. He is 17-years-old. He has Asperger’s Syndrome; he has difficulty socializing with people, intellectually he is much younger than 17. “He likes to fit in and he tries very hard to do so,” Van Croft says. “He’s a very loving child. He loves wrestling. His favorite wrestler is Edge. He loves all the theme songs. He likes the characters. He loves school and he wanted to go to college. He wants to go to college.”
William went missing on the one-year anniversary of his father’s death. According to WJLA’s account, “William Arthurt Van Croft III, was struck and killed by an automobile while walking along Route 301 in Upper Marlboro, Md.”
Van Croft knew that day would be difficult. She says William did not want to join her and his sisters at the cemetery. Instead, she made sure he had a therapy appointment that day—-something to fill his time and allow him to express his feelings. He took his father’s death hard. The two were very close and loved to watch TV and go to church together.
Van Croft says William was having a good day. He was upbeat. He was excited about an upcoming wrestling show on television.
But when she came home from the cemetery, she did not find William at home. This was unusual. Especially since he hadn’t called her to tell her he was going outside. Billy has a cellphone. Van Croft called it.
William answered. He told his mother he was just out for a walk. “He said, ‘Don’t worry,’ Van Croft recalls. “He said, ‘I’m over by 16th Street. I’m on my way home.'” Then she heard: “Hello? Hello?” Then the cellphone’s signal went out. “I haven’t spoken to him since,” Van Croft says.
She waited for him to come home. She drove around looking for him. She considered her options. She called the police after about an hour. Within about 20 minutes, an officer showed up at her doorstep and took a report. She gave the officer William’s cellphone records.
“He told me not to worry—usually kids go out, kids will be kids, let’s give him some time to go back,” Van Croft says.
“I waited,” Van Croft says. “And he never came back.”
Van Croft now calls the police every day.
“I am very appreciative of all the assistance that we have and have been given,” Van Croft says. “There are also three other children that have been missing in the month of January. My heart goes out to their parents.”
One of the other missing kids is a boy who lives a block from Van Croft’s home.
William, she says, loves museums, that he doesn’t travel by himself, that he doesn’t really hang out. “When he left, he took his PSP. He would be more focused on his PSP,” she says.
“I believe my son will be found. I don’t feel that my son …I’m very faithful. I feel that he will be found,” Van Croft says.
Late this afternoon, an officer calls Van Croft’s cellphone with an update on William. He’s still missing. But there’s news. “They may have a lead where officers saw him on the Metro,” she says.