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Missing Illinois boy found hidden in wall

September 7, 2009 5:27:10 PM PDT
It is the story of the six-year old boy, who was missing for the past two years and hidden inside secret places inside his grandmother's home.Fresh out of the county jail, Diane Dobbs, Ricky's grandmother, showed Eyewitness News the home that was a hiding place for her daughter and grandson.

"Yes, I did put them in there," says Dobbs, pointing at a cramped crawlspace. "I got really scared and panicky when I saw yard full of people with guns and masks, so I did put them in there, but that is not where Ricky lived," she says.

Acting on a tip, investigators found six-year-old Ricky Chekevdia and his mother Shannon Wilfong, huddled in the hidden crawlspace.

Police had searched this home before, with the owner's consent and found nothing. but investigators say it was riddled with hiding places. Police say it appeared the child hadn't spent much time outdoors.

"We let him out of the police car and he ran around like he'd never seen the outdoors," says Sgt. Stan Diggs of Illinois State Police.

"It was actually very sad," he added.

The grandmother spoke out on Good Morning America Monday, saying her grandson was home-schooled and often outdoors.

"My grandson had the run of the house. When we were outside, we would go fishing, we would do weenie roasts, we've done fireworks on the Fourth of July, he's helped me plant my flower garden in the back, and he's got his own garden in the back. You don't do that from no crawl space inside your home," said Dobbs.

The family's reasons for hiding out are as plain as the signs on their lawn. They believe that Mike Chekevdia molested his son. But child welfare officials investigating the case found no evidence of abuse and eventually awarded him custody. That's when Ricky and his mom vanished.

"I was investigated three times, and I complied with everybody's desires and wishes and investigations, and every one of those investigations were unfounded," says Mike Chekevdia.

"If that man has nothing to hide why won't he take a lie detector test? That's what I'm asking Mr. Chekevdia this morning," said Dobbs on Good Morning America.

"Take a lie detector test, so we can get this nightmare all behind us," she continues.

Father and son have still not been reunited, but that may happen as early as this week.

As for the grandmother, she says she will not plead guilty.

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