A.K.A. Charles Abbott

One Sunday afternoon in 1977, a Mormon family man gave his pregnant wife and six children some distressing news: He had broken the law, and would soon be arrested. Then he gave them even worse news: He was fleeing the country, and he wanted the family to follow. In the ensuing weeks – and then years – the family man’s façade unraveled, often in highly public ways. In this personal essay, Shawn Vestal explores how his father’s crimes crashed through the family, reverberating for decades. Sorting through mazes of memory and fact, Vestal goes searching for an ending to the story that began when he was 11 years old, holed up in a Canadian hotel room, while his father hid from the law.