Michigan woman kidnapped in 1976 found alive in Arizona

Monday, May 15, 2006

Genevieve Rachel Nielsen, 31, who was kidnapped when she was 21 months old from her home in Oakland County, Michigan, has been found living under another name in Arizona on Sunday, Mother's Day.

In 1976, Eric Douglas Nielsen, the ex-husband of Laura Gooder of Pontiac, Michigan, took Gooder's daughter to his home for a visit and never returned her.

"It's bittersweet. [Gooder] has complete joy and relief that her daughter is alive, but it is a painful reminder of the 30 years she was without her daughter on Mother's Day. The daughter believed her mother had been killed in a car accident a long time ago. She obviously was told something completely different from the father," said Michael Bouchard, an Oakland County Sheriff who was in charge of the investigation. After authority interviews, they contacted the daughter to tell her that her mother was indeed alive, remarried, was residing in Michigan and was a mother to 3 boys.

"The daughter is just reeling. She was shocked. ... Her whole life is a house of cards built on lies," added Bouchard.

A tip led Bouchard and federal marshals to an Arizona prison where Eric Nielsen was allegedly being held for 7 years under assault charges.

"He was due to get out at the end of the month, so that put some urgency on us," said Bouchard.

So far, according to Bouchard, the mother and daughter have not yet made contact. "They're both just trying to come to grips with it."

"It is pretty surreal. I am keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for her to call," said Gooder.