Mesa Father holds vigil for missing son's first birthday, mom wanted for taking him

Mesa father holds vigil for his missing son who turned one-years-old. William and his mother Madeline Jones have been missing since June 15, 2017.

As Jacob Gouchenour poured out his heart singing a song  to celebrate his son's first birthday, baby William wasn’t there to hear it.

It's been three months since William went missing after allegedly being snatched by his mother, 19-year-old Madeline Jones.

“I'm very much hurt, I feel incomplete without my son,” Gouchenour said.

“It's been really hard to have to go through all this and not be part of his life and still not knowing how he's doing, to not know if he's alright,” he said.

Jones and William were reported missing after leaving her parent’s house in Mesa on June 15 of this year.

Police believe Jones took the baby after losing the couple’s ongoing custody battle.

Just a few days before she disappeared, a judge had ruled against Jones, granting Gouchenour joint custody of William.

A few weeks later, Jones missed a court hearing, and a judge granted Gouchenour full custody of their son.

“I have some peace because I think that they're just hiding out somewhere, but I don't know for sure,” Gouchenour told 12 News.

Mesa police issued a warrant for Jones in order to take custody of William and say they're investigating William’s disappearance as custodial interference, which is when one parent takes and keeps a child from another parent.

Gouchenour's supporters have another name for it.

“It's kidnapping, frankly. That's what it is, and it needs to be treated that way,” said Destinee Mack.

Mack made it her mission to help the family raise awareness about the case after learning about what happened through local media.

Mack helped the family organize a birthday vigil Friday night at Chaparral Park in Mesa.  

She’s one of a group of supporters who feel had the parent’s roles been reversed, the case would be treated more seriously.

 “We feel if the father had taken off with him (William) there would be more attention it,” Mack said.

12 News reached out to Jones' family, but the number we previously reached out to them on was no longer a working phone number.

Mesa Police have said they do not have any information leading them to believe the baby is or will be in danger.

There is also a Facebook page dedicated to William’s safe return.

“A life on the run is a life that's not healthy, and he needs to be brought back,” said Mack.

Gouchenor says he won’t give up fighting for his son until William is back with him and his family.

“I want to be part of his life and not going to give up until I am,” he said.

While Gouchenor believes Jones should pay the consequences for her actions, he also made it clear he is not out for vengeance and believes William needs both of his parents in his life.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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