A Father's Quest - Part 1

By: Jalah Gray Email
By: Jalah Gray Email

BELLS, TX-The FBI said about 300 children a year are kidnapped by strangers, many of them are never seen again.
Jalah Gray brings us the story of a local man still searching for his daughter, who was taken more than 30 years ago. Here's part 1 of "A Father's Quest."

"You know it didn't soak in, when somebody just tells you that someone's just gone."

September 26, 1981 is a day that Otis Kinsey said he will never forget. A call from his ex-wife in Oklahoma City changed the rest of his life.

"She called and said 'we need you to come up here,' and I said 'for what?' And she said 'Charlotte's gone,' and still it didn't register on me," said Kinsey.

His daughter, 13-year-old Charlotte Kinsey, went missing that day from the Oklahoma State Fair starting a search that would consume his entire life.

"Police, you know they'll tell you bits and pieces and you gotta read between the lines," said Kinsey.

Between those lines was a story that would never come to an end.

"Royal Russel Long."

Royal Russel Long was a part time carnie and a long haul trucker. Investigators said he was known for going around to state fairs and carnivals and enticing young girls with the promise of a job unloading stuffed animals from a truck that never existed.

On September 26,1981, Charlotte Kinsey and her friend Cinda Palette accepted that job offer.

The two girls had gone to the fair with their boyfriends after calling their moms for permission, the four kids left with Long.

"He got all the kids in the car and took them, said we gotta go meet the truck out here," said Kinsey.

The boys later told investigators Long took them to a nearby truck stop but the truck was not there. He asked the boys to get out and wait in case it showed up, while he and the girls went to check the next stop. The boys watched as the car drove away.
That was the last time Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Palette were seen alive.

"Her mother's no longer living, that devastated her. She talked about her til her dying day."

Christy Lane said Charlotte's mother kept her room just the way she left it for eight years after she vanished, hanging on to the hope that one day her daughter would come home. She was just five months old when her sister disappeared, but Christy remembers growing up hearing Charlotte's story.
Today, she says it has profoundly affected the way she raises her own children.

"I won't even let them ride around the block, like just riding their bikes around the block, things like that, I'm very over protective," said Lane.

"I just don't know, something like that just leaves you feeling bitter," said Kinsey.

Otis still remembers the last time he saw Charlotte like it was yesterday and today he said he can't help but look for her face, in every crowd.

"If I'm at a mall or a carnival and I see a girl that looks like that, you feel almost compelled to go look at the face. And Charlotte would be in her 30s 40s today, so you just hold on to these memories," said Kinsey.

Next week on First News, we'll tell you how the law finally caught up with the man last seen with Charlotte Kinsey and we'll take you inside the courtroom where a young attorney prosecuted the case he said haunts him til this day.

That's next Thursday in Part 2 of "A Father's Quest"


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