CLAIBORNE PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A former boyfriend of Sheila Phillips, mother of Rondreiz “Junior” Phillips, wants to set the record straight about what happened the day the 4-year-old disappeared.
Almost seven months later, authorities have no new leads on where he might be.
At the time of Rondreiz’s disappearance, his mother was seeing Nicholas Gilbert, who helped report him missing and searched for him.
A blue jacket is one of the few things Gilbert has left of Rondreiz Phillips'.
He says he was having problems with his truck the day Rondreiz went missing. Gilbert says he went home, told Rondreiz’s mother, then left and went to Homer to try to check on his brother.
Gilbert says that when he came home, he asked Rondreiz’s mother where the child was and she told him he was over at his aunt’s house.
“We was calling her and calling her and she never answered the phone,” Gilbert recalls. “So my Aunt JoAnn was at the doctor. So I drove all the way to this doctor to where my Aunt JoAnn was supposed to be. She wasn’t there.
"She called me and said that Junior was not with us.”
That’s when Gilbert says he went home and began looking for Rondreiz, eventually calling 911.
“The first day this happened, it was a whole lot of just standing in the yard. Talking sho-shooing about — nobody doesn’t know what’s going on.”
Gilbert believes authorities didn’t do enough that day.
“I did not one time see no boat go in no water. I did not see nobody go up under the water and look for none of this.”
Authorities did drain all the ponds in the area.
And they and volunteers spent weeks searching for Rondreiz.
“When I first got arrested, I was like shocked because I was like ‘Man, what’s going on?’”
Gilbert posted bond.
And he says he’s hurt that people close to him believe he killed Rondreiz — especially when he says he took a lie detector test and passed.
“I really thought it was love until I seen or heard or read so much disrespectful stuff,” Gilbert says.
“How could you even say I’d do something like this? Man, I got nieces and nephews. They be all on Facebook, they watch the news. They come and hear this and start asking me dumb questions.”
Gilbert eventually came to Shreveport and now is homeless. He and Rondreiz’s mother have since separated.
Now seven months later, he says he thinks about Rondreiz’s disappearance every single day.
“I can’t really sleep. This is bothering me. This is bothering me so bad because I took two people out here on my grandma’s property, and somebody came out here and took one of them off my grandma’s property.”
Gilbert believes that someone took Rondreiz and that the child still is alive.
He’s hoping they’ll come forward and bring him back.
“I want to know so I can go on with my life. I’m about to go crazy. ... I’m about to go crazy.”
Gilbert is urging authorities to do more and to continue to search for Rondreiz so that one day he can finally come home.
“I really want to find Junior, though, because he don’t deserve this. Whatever decision somebody made, he don’t deserve it.”
There still is a $10,000 reward for any information about Rondreiz’s disappearance. If you have information that could help find Rondreiz, you can:
- Call 911,
- Call the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office at (318) 927-2011 or toll-free at (800) 810-2011, or,
- Contact Sgt. Stacey Pearson, of the Louisiana Clearinghouse for Missing and Exploited Children/AMBER, by calling (337) 962-2605 or sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.