Two years after the pair disappeared, they turned up at her mother’s home — just three miles from where Chekevdia now lives — in a secret room hidden by a wall.
Wilfong and her now nearly 7-year-old son Ricky had apparently been living there all along. Chekevdia said that the window shades were often drawn to cover the windows, and that he always suspected the boy and his mother were inside. But though Wilfong’s mother willingly allowed police to search her home, they could never find the boy.
That’s probably because he was hidden away, in a 5 foot by 12 foot room with a ceiling so short, there wasn’t room to stand up. There were other hiding places in the home as well. The hideout helped them keep their secret for a full two years. That is, until last Friday, when authorities — who were acting on a tip — suddenly showed up with a search warrant and found Wilfong and her son in their hidden room.
Checkevdia was accused of abusing Ricky, a claim he denies and one that’s currently being investigated by authorities. Though Checkevdia has regained legal custody, Ricky is still in the care of state authorities.
Ricky, for his part, is talkative and healthy, though police officers say he was thrilled to be outside on Friday. We let him out of the (patrol) car and he ran around like he’d never seen outdoors. It was actually very sad,” Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Stan Diggs told the Associate Press. “He was very happy to be outside. He said he never goes outside.”