Police: Man who took son 'living off grid' - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Police: Man who took son 'living off grid'

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Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 10:10 pm | Updated: 2:19 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

 A Tempe man who took his 9-year-old son more than a month ago seems to have vanished and no leads are coming in, police say.

James Kaiser, 43, cut all ties to the East Valley when he took son Benjamin Kaiser-Griffin May 21 by getting rid of his pickup truck, terminating service on his cell phone, vacating his condo and not answering service calls to his handyman business.

"This guy is living off the grid," said Detective Chris Keipert of the Chandler Police Department. "It's going to take a public tip that is going to get this kid recovered and to his mom."

Keipert said Kaiser is believed to be driving a blue, four-door "boxy-looking" sedan. He is a heavy smoker and drinker and is known to have always preferred to use cash.

Kaiser didn't return the child to his mother, Shelly Griffin, after a weeklong visit.

Keipert said the information he has gathered leads him to believe Kaiser had been planning the abduction for five months or longer.

Kaiser had talked about taking the boy to Hawaii and they have been there before and camped on the beach, Keipert said.

Griffin said Kaiser has the ability to live "like a vagabond."

She said it was not unusual for Kaiser to keep the boy longer than he was supposed to, but that he always brought him back.

According to court documents, the parents have been feuding over custody issues for years.

Kaiser did not like his son taking a certain medication or attending public school, and he wouldn't take the boy to school on the days he had him, running up weeks of absences, the court documents said.

"He's always wanted him for himself," Griffin said. "This whole thing is about control."

Griffin hasn't sat still, though.

She's been busy passing out fliers, pounding on doors and she even made the discovery about the type of car he was driving.

Griffin said if Kaiser returns with Ben, then she will still allow him to have supervised visits because the father and son are close.

"If he goes to prison, how does that help me, how does that help Ben?" she said.

That possibility exists, though.

For now, police want Kaiser because he violated a court order and for custodial interference, which can be a misdemeanor or a felony.

Kaiser will only face a misdemeanor if he returns the boy before an arrest is made or an arrest warrant is issued, Keipert said.

Kaiser will face a felony charge if he takes the boy out of state, Keipert added.

Anyone with information is asked to call (480) 782-4130.

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