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Chapter Four

REPORTERS Coffin and Laphorne emerged from the second elevator
just in time to see Ralph Troulson enter a waiting car with what
appeared to be Ruth Troulson in the passenger's seat. He immediately
drove off, further confirming that his wife was in fact with him and
not upstairs saying Goodnight to their son as he had said before
boarding the elevator.

Smelling a bigger story than they had expected, the two reporters
turned around and headed back to the sixth floor, Sophie Laphorne via
the stairway adjacent to the elevators, her sneakered feet clearing two
steps at a time, while the older and less excitable George Coffin
pressed the button for the slower but less strenuous elevator.

"Officer!" Sophie shouted as she reached the floor and threw open
the door, startling those assembled in the waiting area. The echo from
the hollow stairwell behind her amplified her breathless voice. "Could
Mrs. Troulson . . . have left the floor . . . by another way?"

"Why, yes! There is another stairway at the far end of . . . ,"
Frank Fallone answered as he spun about to watch the athletic young
reporter sprint past him into the pediatric corridor.

"Miss, wait! Do you mean to say . . .?" he called after her, leaving
another sentence unfinished as he followed her through the swinging

At the sight of this commotion heading their way, Irena Czinko
and the two nurses waiting outside the door of room 606 realized
something was amiss. The D.S.S. worker pushed open the door and
stepped inside, followed by the nurses, the reporter, the security
guard, and George Coffin who had finally caught up with his younger
counterpart. The elders and the two ladies from Kingdom Hall came as
far as the door but did not enter the already overcrowded room.

"What's going on here? Where's the boy?" Irena Czinko
demanded, looking under the bed and behind the drapes in the hope
that her fears would not be realized.

"He's gone!" Sophie Laphorne verbalized everyone's thought.
"This is an outrage!" Ms. Czinko roared, as she stormed to the
nurse's station to call the police. "It's kidnapping. It's child abuse."
"All right, folks!" Frank Fallone raised his voice over the hubbub,
recovering from the surprise that had left him a stunned onlooker for
a moment. "Everyone please move back to the waiting area. We can't
be having all this fuss here in Pediatrics. Let's move along, please!"

Sophie Laphorne adjusted her recording equipment while she
followed the others back through the swinging doors. Immediately
she cornered the missing child's grandmother: "Mrs. Troulson, you
don't appear to be surprised at this development. Did you know in
advance that your son and daughter-in-law would be removing your
grandson Tommy from the hospital tonight?"

The grandmother smiled when the mike was held up to her lips.
"You're the one saying that that's what happened--not me!", she
began. "But I will say this: The only true God is Jehovah, and He
works in mysterious ways to accomplish His will on earth as in

"Do you mean to say that God told the boy's parents to abduct
him from the hospital before the scheduled transfusion?"

"I told you: what I have already said is all that I'm going to say."

With that, Karen Troulson took the elbow of her friend Virginia
May, and the two ladies stepped into a waiting elevator. Sophie
turned toward Harold Brainard and Frank Sturgis, the two Jehovah's
Witness elders, only to have Brainard, the older of the two, place his
felt hat over her microphone, as he too stepped onto the elevator.
"No comment, Ma'm," he stated firmly. "No comment."

His partner simply shook his head with pursed lips, getting the
same message across as the elevator door slid shut, terminating the

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