In 2007, 4-year-old Ricky Chekevdia and his mother vanished. Police say he was locked in a tiny, secret room in his grandmother’s suburban Illinois home and his mother is to blame. This Aug. 2007 photo shows Ricky at a wedding in West Frankfort, Ill.
How did Ricky Chekevdia wind up locked in a tiny, windowless 12 x 5 foot room for two years? Police say his mother, Shannon Wilfong, abducted the boy Sept. 21, 2007, after a heated custody dispute with Ricky’s father, Mike Chekevdia. The parents shared joint custody of Ricky at the time. Ricky and his father are seen in this undated family photo.
Shannon Wilfong, 30, was charged with felony abduction after police found her 6-year-old son, Ricky Chekevdia, in a tiny, secret room hidden behind a wall in Wilfong’s mother’s Illinois home. The boy’s grandmother, Diane, Dobbs was charged with aiding and abetting.
A tip led officials to the Franklin County, Ill. home of Ricky Chekevdia’s grandmother, Diane Dobbs. U.S. Marshalls and Illinois State Police allege the young boy was being kept in a crawl space in his Dobbs’ home. Police say Ricky was not allowed to go outside or even look out the window except at night. The ceiling of his room was only four feet high.
Ricky Chekevdia’s grandmother, Diane Dobbs, claims that Ricky’s father, Mike Chekevdia, sexually abused him and she was trying to protect the boy. She also says Ricky spent most of his time outside the room. Mike Chekevdia, 48, a former police officer and lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard, denied any wrongdoing. Dobbs is charged with aiding and abetting.
Ricky Chekevdia poses with his father, Mike Chekevdia, at a August 2007 wedding in West Frankfort, Ill. Ricky disappeared soon after this photo was taken. He reappeared Sept. 4, 2009, when police found him in a secret room in his grandmother’s house.
Mike Chekevdia, right, shown with his son before the boy’s 2007 abduction, says he has only seen Ricky through a car window since the boy was located. Chekevdia says he doesn’t want to rush his son, but at the same time, can’t wait to get Ricky back into a normal life and have him meet up again with their dog, Ace.
As of Aug. 8, 2009, Ricky Chekevdia, shown here before his 2007 abduction, is a ward of the state. After two years, which police say he spent in captivity, the 6-year-old is staying with a relative of his father, Mike Chekevdia. A judge says the goal is to reunite father and son.