Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Couple 'vacations' with fugitive dad in Mexico
John and Lynn (real names withheld by choice) were sitting at an airport gate in Phoenix, waiting for their connecting flight to Washington state after a Mexican vacation.

CNN was on the monitor. John was reading a book as he listened to a story about a Kentucky fugitive dad who was allowed to leave jail for a final round of tests before donating a kidney to his son.

But he skipped out. Vanished. John said he thought, "What a jerk." He looked up at the screen, saw Byron Perkins' photo, and said, "Honey, you wouldn't believe who was just on TV."

John and his wife believe they unwittingly spent a few days with that runaway dad in a tiny fishing village called Boca de Tomatlan south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Perkins and his girlfriend Lee Ann Howard had been on the run for a month.

Instead of ignoring the story, John and Lynn went the extra step. They called police. They got involved. Timing. Luck. Whatever you call it, U.S. Marshals are grateful to have their first solid lead in weeks.
Posted By Susan Candiotti, CNN Correspondent: 9:52 AM ET
  47 Comments
When they catch this guy, he should be forced to make his donation right then and there. Even if it does not help his kid, it will help someone. This should give other convicts with the same idea a reason to think twice.
Posted By Anonymous Ray Toothman, Charles Town WV : 10:23 AM ET
The news media is giving us the impression that Perkins is the only possible kidney donor for his son. I have some doubts about that. Why can't the mother, some other relative, a non-relative, or even a cadaver be the donor? Let's get the full details on this.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Williams, Detroit : 10:24 AM ET
That's great! Hooray for civic duty!!!
Posted By Anonymous Connor, NYC : 10:33 AM ET
Hooray! And thanks to the couple who did not just turned their head away. We would have a lot safer place if more people would do what they did and get involved.

Sharon Evans, RN
Posted By Anonymous Sharon Evans, Graham, NC : 10:38 AM ET
There are so many people who would have opted to look the other way. This couple got involved and hopefully their information will lead police to this fugitive who fooled many. Good for them.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Glen Arm, Maryland : 10:39 AM ET
ever since I first heard about this story it made me sick. Being the mother of a child whose father could care less about her, it still shocks me that a parent could be so heartless.
Posted By Anonymous natalie m., jefferson city, mo. : 10:55 AM ET
It's simple. When they catch this guy, he should have to donate both of his kidneys.
Posted By Anonymous Amy Esche, Evansville, IN : 11:30 AM ET
Mike, it can take years to find a donor who's a perfect match, as the father is. Does this boy have years to wait? What this man has done is reprehensible, and I absolutely agree that he should go from capture, to the hospital for the transplant procedure, then immediately back to prison. They should send that girlfriend of his as well. I cannot fathom what type of person would help someone do what she has.
Posted By Anonymous Jeana, Los Angeles, CA : 11:32 AM ET
Assuming this child makes it and grows up into a responsible person, I hope he goes to see him in prison in 15 or 20 years to give him his own piece of mind of what he thinks of his actions so long ago. He should never taste freedom, or happiness, again.
Posted By Anonymous Jack, Norfolk, VA : 11:37 AM ET
When they catch this idiot, he should be forced to donate BOTH kidneys.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Irvine CA : 11:38 AM ET
In response to Ray Toothman:

"...forced to make his donation right then and there."?!

You have got to be kidding me. That kind of takes away the whole purpose and idea of making a donation. Whether he's a convict or not, he still has rights, especially over his own body and what happens to it. There's a point where treatment of goes too far, and you have surpassed it tenfold.
Posted By Anonymous Winston Hinton, Kansas City, Kansas : 11:42 AM ET
Why didn't they have a police officer ESCORT him to the hospital and back into jail? Then he wouldn't have ran. I hope he gets caught, and that kidney had better go to his son. That's a horrible father to have, thinking of his own freedom instead of his son.
Posted By Anonymous Mae Aldridge Moberly, MO : 11:44 AM ET
Mike Williams, you need to be more informed.

The fact that his father can donate makes it unlikely that his mother could.

Cadavers don't donate kidneys. You can't just take a kidney from anyone who passes away. It must be someone who was otherwise healthy BUT through an unfortunate event has now been declared deceased and the organs are being preserved through life support systems. The kidney is often damaged as a result of the unfortunate event, so it would not be available for donation.

Also there is a list of people waiting for a kidney. People die every day waiting. The only way you move up on the list is if someone donates a kidney directly to you.

This father begged for the opportunity to donate his kidney to his son. The Justice System believed his plea and allowed him to go for testing. Tracking devices could not be used because the physician stated that the device would interfere with testing. He used his son as a way to escape justice. He did this though his actions could result in his sons death.

But really....the only detail needed to make a sound judgement in this case is that a convicted felon ran to escape justice.
Posted By Anonymous Lynda, Charlotte, NC : 11:45 AM ET
What makes this whole story so sad is that young man who is still hoping for a miracle Dad to walk in his fragile life and help him get through.
Posted By Anonymous Manon, Longueuil, Quebec : 11:48 AM ET
I can't belive that some people are concerned with wether the dad can or can not be the donor. That is not the point. The point is that his guy took advantage of the good faith of officials and took advantage of his own soon condition to scape from paying his debt to society. This guy should be locked up again without any benefit because he has proved to be a real crook. He has shown what runs in his heart. In fact , he should be put into a Mexican prison, that would add extra spice to his experience.
Posted By Anonymous Hugo, Ft Lauderdale, FL : 11:56 AM ET
Boy! I hope they catch this guy and force him to 'hand' over his kidney. What a loser to have left his own flesh and blood to slowly (and painfully) die! He should be tried for attempted murder.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Charlotte, NC : 12:06 PM ET
is this really newsworthy? why would anyone be surprised that a felon would try to escape jail by lying? our authorities prove themselves again to people who are easily duped by criminals who are thinking more shrewdly. and then we all cry, "outrage". what a joke.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle Brown, Leesburg, Virginia : 12:10 PM ET
This is a great opportunity to do some education about organ donation. The fact of the matter is, the list of people who need organs is much longer than the list of donors. The dad is definitely a creep. I challenge everyone reading this to register as an organ dononr RIGHT NOW.
Posted By Anonymous Martha Jane, Tucson, AZ : 12:11 PM ET
In regards to the comments above about other family members being a donor, it, sorry to say, even a mom, or sibling will not be a match, dna is funny that way. A cadaver would have to litterally be wiped clean of old dna for this childs body not to reject it, if I am correct
Posted By Anonymous Hunter New York NY : 12:12 PM ET
Personally I think this guy should be brought up on attempted murder charges. Knowing his son needs the kidney and will die without it and he still takes off, in my mind that's premeditation.

And for Winston-that mentality of "he still has rights" is what causes problems like this. Why is it that it is the criminal who still always has rights-what about the dying kid whose only crime is being born to a guy like that. You guys never look at the rights/needs/families of the victims. If the guy is guilty, he loses his rights-period. All of these "rights" lead these guys to get out and cause more crime-and ignore their own dying children-they don't deserve rights. See what your attitude would be like if you were on the receiving end of a criminal's "rights".
Posted By Anonymous Bob, New York, New York : 12:28 PM ET
I just dont understand how a father can use his son's illness as a get out of jail free card. This is his child. The message that this man is sending to his son is disturbing. I hope, when captured, he never knows sunlight again.
Posted By Anonymous Nicole, Houston, Tx : 12:31 PM ET
Would someone explain to me why the testing couldn't be completed in the prison? and if not there then he should have been attached to a guard. When priosoners go to funerals and hospitals to visit dying family they have to have a guard. Surely one of the guards would have volunteered to get the testing completed.
Posted By Anonymous Dan Topeka,KS : 12:46 PM ET
Instead of ignoring the story, John and Lynn went the extra step. They called police. They got involved.
_______________________________________

Fantastic! Glad to hear there are still people in the world that look beyond the nose on their face!!!
Posted By Anonymous Jill, Fort Wayne, IN : 12:47 PM ET
I agree with Mae. In lieu of a tracking device, the father should have definitely been escorted. I'll bet the custodians of this inmate are really embarrassed.
Posted By Anonymous Susan Miller, Wadesboro, NC : 1:02 PM ET
I work with children who are abandoned by their fathers and their mothers. But this is one of the lowest things I have ever seen. This child has been abandoned by his father in the worst way. What kind of father could do that? My thoughts and prayers go out to this child and his family.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer Steinhofer Lexington Ky : 1:07 PM ET
So many children in this world have fathers who run to avoid paying child support and the responsibility of parenthood. This story is "deadbeat dad" to the max. I just can't believe there are such people in this world. I will go back now to my naive, "the world is nice and fuzzy" place now.
Posted By Anonymous Rachel-Albuquerque, NM : 1:36 PM ET
I am so glad to read that you got involved, as I did in another case in 2004 when I was on vacation in a foreign county and found a 4 yr old boy that was kidnapped by his father. Now the boy is in a safe envirnment and home with his Mom, sisters and family. He deserves to rot in prison, how can anyone do something like that to his own flesh and blood just to benefit himself. I sure hope they take his kidney for his son, then lock up the father and throw away the key forever.
Posted By Anonymous Babs, St Paul, MN : 1:39 PM ET
I think most of you ARE missing the point. Whether he actually donates or not is NOT the point, it's that it was for his SON. What kind of person DOES that?

Not to mention he escaped from jail. Does he really think he'll get away for long? Thank God for people like "John and Lynn" for paying attention and stepping up with information like that.
Posted By Anonymous Laura, Key Largo, FL : 1:44 PM ET
Hmm, nice tip off to the guy to let him know the Marshals are coming for him. I'm sure he will be long gone from that village now that he may have read this article.
Posted By Anonymous Billy Joe, Houston : 1:46 PM ET
in response to mike williams: I'm the boys uncle and yes the mother did donate one of her kidneys and his body rejected it, and my family, one by one, are being tested. but so far no match.
Posted By Anonymous joey bell , jamestown ky. : 1:46 PM ET
As a mother, I would do anything in my power to save my child. This man disgusts me! That poor child not only has to suffer physically, now he has to suffer emotionally as well. Who would do that to his own flesh and blood?

Kudos "John and Lynn" for getting involved!
Posted By Anonymous Sheryn R, Pohatcong, NJ : 1:56 PM ET
The guy did what a whole lot of fathers have done to their kids...he abandoned him, except he took that abandonment to a whole new level. He used his kid to get out and the judge that released him tried to do the right thing and was taken advantage of as well. The only want that should be embarassed is the idiot who is on the run!
Posted By Anonymous R . Johnson, San Diego : 2:04 PM ET
I would personally like to see this man have to donate his kidney when caught. After all, he did agree to do it, he just used the child as an excuse to escape. However, I really worry about the safety of most of America if a convicted felon can go from jail to a hospital for tests and walk out without any escort. When will other use this as an excuse to make an escape attempt.
Posted By Anonymous Skye, Cortland, IL : 2:05 PM ET
I am currently on the kidney donation list in PA and NJ, and I can tell you a lot about the process. In PA and NJ the average cadaver kidney list takes 4-6 years before your turn comes up! The cadaver kidney is not wiped clean of DNA, that is not possible, each cadaver kidney is HLA antigen matched to the best match on the list for that geographic location. The kids mother must not be a match and that is why they went to the low life sperm donor. I urge everybody who reads this to keep their eyes open for the guy. Dialysis is not fun!!! Believe me!
Posted By Anonymous Chris Crawford, Sweet Valley, PA : 2:16 PM ET
Good Samaritans..YEA!! I'm glad they reported this. What I would like to see done to a father who would do this to his son..well it isn't printable.

As for the donation...Kidneys are very tough...they have to have an exact match or forget it. If the father is the match no one else in the immediate family would be in most cases. There may be someone else in the whole world who would match but what are the odds of finding that person.
Posted By Anonymous Mother in Reading PA : 2:20 PM ET
Good for John and Lynn! I'm glad something "good" happened in this tory. When I first read about this "father" deserting his son to go to Mexico with his "girlfriend", after I closed my mouth and wiped my tears, I couldn't decide which of these two losers was the worst - the "father" for lying about how much he wanted to keep his son from dying, all the while planning to run away, or the woman for being fool enough to go with him! I am constantly amazed by how low people will go, and how others will help them. "Dad" should have 10 or 12 years tacked on to his sentence just for being a toal scank. And to Mike in Detroit - don't you think that the mother and the doctors tried matching anyone and everyone they could before resorting to "loser dad in prison"? Matching organs isn't a matter of just finding one that fits. And to Winston in KC - the father did volunteer to donate the kidney. He stood in court and cried about how he wanted to help his son and convinced everyone that he would go through with it. Maybe he should have an Academy Award waiting in his cell when they catch him and throw him back in it.
Posted By Anonymous Janet, Los Angeles, CA : 2:49 PM ET
Ray,

It doesn't matter who else can donate a kidney for the young boy. What matters is that this man was released from prison so that he may have some purpose to his pathetic life and save his son's life. What other details do you want?
Posted By Anonymous Kalterina Tucson, AZ : 2:52 PM ET
Child endangerment. I've seen convictions for less heinous acts. How sad. That poor child should have never known that kind of rejection.
Posted By Anonymous Joan, Tecumseh, MI : 2:52 PM ET
We are Americans living in Mexico and have been in touch with the investigator and CNN reporter covering the story. Once we heard this couple was headed this way, we couldn't just sit still. We have a 16 year old daughter and just couldn't imagine a father doing this. So we also got involved and are in the process of getting this story on Mexican National TV. Now that they are committing crimes here in Mexico, it will be easier to get the story out and get the Mexican people involved in the search for these horrible people.

I believe in my heart that thes people will be caught and returned to the US.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth Wright, Merida Yucatan Mexico : 3:08 PM ET
While not trying to sound vindictive, I believe that, once they catch him, they should take both kidneys and donate them. Let him spend the rest of his life in prison, and on dialysis. MAYBE then, he'll get a clue.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Atlanta, GA : 3:15 PM ET
I donated a kidney to my spouse nearly a year ago. You know, donating, and being the recipient of an organ, is a delicate issue - not only medically, but psychologically. It is actually easier on the donor in many ways than it is on the recipient with respect to the humility it requires to accept that kind of gift from someone, especially from someone you love. The rejection this boy will feel, I truly believe, will affect his ability to psychologically accept the donation. It's a very disturbing and sad story on more than just one level.
Posted By Anonymous S. McNally, North Brunswick, NJ : 12:45 PM ET
This poor boy, may not even know his father, and now he has to wait for him to be found to get his kidney. My 12 year old hasnt saw his father since he was 2, I cant even imagine my son going through this. My heart goes out to this boy and his family. I sincerely hope that they find the guy!
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Parkersburg, WV : 12:55 PM ET
When he is caught, and he will be. Does anyone really believe that he is going to donate his kidney to his son. Being selfish enough to run in the first place, with his girlfriend no less and leave his own flesh and blood to twist in the wind. More than likely he justified it with another donor will come along and save the day. The mother already tried and the boys body rejected it. So what makes him think a strangers will work.

When he is caught he could possibly go ahead and donate the kidney. Thinking it would make him look good in the eyes of the court and the people which in turn would result in a less sever punishment.

Yeah Right.
Posted By Anonymous Lori, Manchester, TN : 1:45 PM ET
Ninty nine of these blogs are right on...with one exception of Winston Hilton. This should be considered premedicated murder and the girlfriend should be convicted of the same... as an accomplice. Who "kills" their son and goes to Mexico to celebrate and party? I agree with others, take both kidneys & without anesthesia. While you're at it, you might as well discard his heart, brain, eyes & ears as they apparently are not functioning. Sounds radical, but I, for one, am tired of seeing scumbags, real pieces of garbage like this have their rights protected while good innocent people,his own son for heaven sakes, suffer, both emotionally and physically. The scars will never heal.
Posted By Anonymous Pat, Prior Lake, MN : 2:09 PM ET
What a father, he is almost his last hope it could take years to kind a kindey his body won't reject. His mother gave him one of hers but it didn't work. Thanks to the couple that did the right thing, those are the people that make life worth living.
Posted By Anonymous Cassandra Griffith, Fort Wayne IN : 2:16 PM ET
I don't understand it - did they just open the doors to the prison and tell this jerk, "go ahead". And what were they expecting, that he would return on his own after the surgery? I find this more mind boggling than the fact that this man skipped town instead of helping to save the life of his son.
Posted By Anonymous MJ, New York, NY : 2:25 PM ET
Regarding the comment made by Mike Williams--The boys mother already donated a kidney.The boys body rejected his mothers kidney.
Posted By Anonymous Pat, Judsonia, Arkansas : 2:55 PM ET
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