Mother, son and Nashua teenager missing, Police say they may be heading out West — (The Concord Monitor)

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The Concord Monitor

By ELIZABETH WALTERS, Monitor staff

June 22. 2006 8:00AM

A mother and son from Canterbury have been missing since Friday, and the police believe they may be driving to the West Coast with a teenager from Nashua. Eight-year-old Brennan Malone and his mother, 32-year-old Jennifer Malone, were last seen in town about 1:30 that afternoon, when Jennifer Malone picked him up at Canterbury Elementary School, saying he had a dental appointment, the police said yesterday.

Jennifer Malone was subsequently spotted in Illinois with a person the police think is a missing 16-year-old from Nashua whose relationship with her is the subject of a state investigation.

“My big concern is getting my son back and getting her help,”said Rodney Malone, Jennifer’s husband and Brennan’s father.

“We’re really concerned for the welfare of both of them,” said Canterbury Police Chief Gwen Deurell.

The situation has sparked at least two police investigations: one by the Canterbury police and the state police regarding the Malones, and one by the Nashua police regarding the teenager.

“We are also attempting to determine the involvement of Mrs. Malone in this missing juvenile case,” said Sgt. Jeff Maher, a detective in the Nashua Police Department’s youth services division.

It took a few hours on Friday before anyone noticed that the Malones were missing, Rodney Malone said. Brennan did not have a dental appointment, as his mother had claimed, but he was supposed to go to a slumber party that night, so it didn’t alarm his father or the couple’s other son, 10-year-old Logan, that he wasn’t around. Jennifer was due back from work in time for dinner, and as it grew later and she hadn’t arrived, Rodney Malone became concerned, he said.

Finally at 11 p.m., worried that she may have gotten into an accident, he drove the route she would have taken home from the Spaulding Youth Center in Tilton. When he got there, he said, he found out she hadn’t come to work that day.

Then he discovered that Brennan hadn’t shown up for his party. Brennan and Jennifer’s birth certificates and Social Security cards were missing from the Malones’house, along with the family’s phone and address book and the chart from Brennan’s most recent physical.

Because Brennan had left with his mother, a parent with custody, he wasn’t eligible for the Amber Alert system, but Rodney Malone filed missing-person reports for both of them the next morning.

It was in the course of conversations with the police that he found out about an investigation of his wife by the state Division for Children, Youth and Families. Deurell said the agency has been investigating the relationship between Malone and the Nashua teenager, who was a counseling client of hers. Rodney Malone said his wife and the teen met when she was a counselor and he was a student at Mount Prospect Academy, a school for troubled boys in Plymouth. Jennifer worked there until about the second week of May, he said. DCYF had contacted her Friday to set up an interview to talk about her connection to the teenager, the police said.

Rodney Malone said his wife had been acting strangely in the past few weeks, but he hadn’t known why.

“She’s been acting more juvenile, and distant from me and her friends,” he said.

Jennifer Malone drained their bank account shortly after picking up Brennan, then made a credit card purchase in Nashua, her husband said. After that, the paper trail ends, he said, and her cellular phone has apparently been turned off since she left.

About the same time Rodney Malone was realizing that something was amiss in Canterbury, a woman in Nashua was realizing that nobody knew where her 16-year-old son was. He was supposed to spend the night at the house of his father, who is separated from her, but when she went to pick him up on Saturday morning, she was told he hadn’t shown up.

The teen’s mother confirmed that her son had had a relationship with Jennifer Malone, although she declined to characterize its nature.

“He was forbidden to see this woman,” she said. “He is supposed to be having no contact with her at all.”

Both the teenager and Jennifer Malone were not seen again until about midnight on Sunday night, when the teenager’s mother’s father, a long-haul trucker, saw them in Elk Grove Village, Ill. The teen had traveled with his grandfather before and knew his routes, his mother said.

Deurell said the grandfather reported giving the teenager $100 and the teen said they were heading out West, maybe to California. Rodney Malone said he and his wife, who have been married 13 years, lived in Humboldt County, in the northern part of the state, about 10 years ago.

The grandfather did not see any sign of Brennan, and Sunday night was the last time either Jennifer Malone or the teenager was seen. The National Crime Information Center has sent out an alert on Jennifer Malone’s on its national database, Deurell said.

“If the vehicle’s stopped and there’s any contact with the mother or the son, then we’ll know right away,” she said.

Since finding his wife and younger son missing, Rodney Malone spent hours on the phone with various law enforcement agencies, he said. He filed a court petition to gain sole custody of his sons, which he says was granted but will not go into effect until his wife can be served notice of the decision. He has tried to reassure Logan, who is confused by his mother’s apparent abandonment and who misses Brennan. He wonders whether his wife has run out of the Prozac and Wellbutrin she was taking for depression. He frets because the teenager’s mother has told him her son has anger management problems.

Most of all, he said he thinks of Brennan, the outgoing, athletic boy with the cowlick in the middle of his forehead who was supposed to finish the second grade on Monday.

He hopes he will be home soon.