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Kidnapping Solved With Confession, Friendship

September 12, 1996 GMT

MIAMI (AP) _ After more than two decades, an elderly man in a nursing home has confessed to kidnapping a boy who was found shot in the head and left for dead in the Everglades.

But instead of bitterness toward the man he blames for putting a bullet through his skull and leaving him blinded in one eye, now-32-year-old Chris Carrier visits his kidnapper every day to read him the Bible. And the two have forged an unlikely friendship.

``Nobody would imagine that I would shake the hand that tried to kill me,″ Carrier told The Miami Herald in a story published Thursday.

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``When I look at him, I don’t stare at my abductor and potential murderer. I stare at a man, very old, very alone and scared,″

David McAllister, now 77 and blind, won’t be charged in the case, though. The statute of limitations ran out years ago.

On Dec. 20, 1974, Carrier, then 10, stepped off his school bus and simply vanished. Six days later, a hunter found him 75 miles from home sitting on a rock in the Everglades, dazed and bruised.

Someone had poked him with an ice pick, burned with cigarettes, then shot him. The bullet had entered Carrier’s right temple and exited his left. Today, his left eye barely opens.

McAllister, an ex-convict, was the prime suspect. He was a nurse who had tended to Carrier’s elderly uncle prior to the abduction and had been fired for drinking.

McAllister strongly resembled the composite drawing of Carrier’s assailant. However, no physical evidence linked him to the crime.

The case came alive again in August, when Coral Gables police Maj. Charles Scherer, originally assigned to the abduction in 1975, learned McAllister was in a North Miami Beach nursing home.

Scherer interviewed McAllister three times since Aug. 30. Last week, he confessed on tape to the kidnapping, but not the shooting.

``He fit the composite to a T. I am sure of it now, and I was sure of it then,″ Scherer said.

Carrier’s mother, Norma, also was convinced McAllister was her son’s assailant all along. She told The Associated Press on Thursday that she finds forgiveness ``very, very hard, but I’m glad that it’s finished.″

Carrier said he is happy he has been able to show McAllister that, except for his eye, he was not permanently scarred. He married, has two children, graduated from a seminary and served as director of youth ministries at a church. He plans to move to Waco, Texas, next week to open a Christian bookstore.

McAllister has apologized to Carrier in their meetings. For the victim, the past is past.

``He’s never been able to live without memories and pain,″ Carrier said. ``In that perspective, he has paid his price, served his time.″