The boy they called Jake seemed happy and in good health, even though he was the only child hanging around at the Coconut Caribbean Hotel in Belize's Ambergris Caye.
His father was friendly, even taking time to recommend elk hunting adventures in Texas to some Minnesota tourists.
But Barb Quinlan, an Oak Park Heights resident vacationing in Belize with her fiancé in January, had a feeling something was wrong.
"It was kind of bizarre," she said. "Maybe it's motherly instinct; you just kind of know these things."
Her instinct was right.
David Clenney has been charged with abducting Jake, 4, on July 26, and taking him to Belize via Cancun, Mexico, allegedly using forged documents. Because of Quinlan's suspicions -- and some crafty photography -- Jake Clenney was reunited Thursday with his mother, Heather Clenney in Belize.
The snapshot that helped authorities find a missing childCourtesy Of Barb Quinlan
Mother and son returned home to San Angelo,Texas, on Friday.
Jacob Clenney "is right back at it, playing with his sister and acting like he never left," said his mother, who called Quinlan on Monday to thank her for finding the boy.
Special Agent Bill Endorf of the San Angelo FBI office accompanied Heather Clenney to Belize and arrested her former husband, who made his first appearance Monday in Tom Green District Court in San Angelo on charges of international parental kidnapping. He has not yet been appointed an attorney, Endorf said.
Barb QuinlanJeff WheelerStar Tribune
"Barbara is the real hero in this case," Endorf said. "If not for her, this kid doesn't see his mother again, maybe ever."
David and Heather Clenney were divorcing. Under court orders, Jake lived with each parent for two weeks at a time, an arrangement that seemed to work until the boy and his father disappeared.
"Relations were pretty good and everything," Heather Clenney said. "I had no clue he was planning to take him."
But Endorf said the plan must have been in the works long enough for David Clenney to allegedly forge a passport and documents that appeared to give him permission to leave the country with the child.
They disappeared in late July or August, and Heather Clenney hadn't heard a word from them since. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children put pictures of Jake and David Clenney on its Web site (missingkids.com), and it noted that the two might be in Dallas or Kansas City.
Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt