The Patron Saint For Missing Kids

by Diane Dimond on August 30, 2008

When Senator Barack Obama traveled to the Middle East not long ago he had more than presidential politics on his mind.He was also on a secret mission to help an Illinois constituent get back her four kidnapped young daughters. Obama slipped a note to the Palestinian Prime Minister about Colleen Bargouthi whose husband had refused to send their girls home after a visit to his family in Palestine. The Prime Minister said he’d look into it.

Senator Obama should have turned to my pal, Bazzel Baz.

Bazzel Baz moments after rescuing young Lily Snyder from a hut in Costa Rica - circa 2003

Bazzel Baz moments after rescuing young Lily Snyder from a hut in Costa Rica – circa 2003

He’s got an unusual name and an even more unusual vocation. He clandestinely rescues missing children that authorities can’t find or have given up trying to reunite with their custodial parent.

Baz has long operated in the shadows but now he’s allowing me to publicly reveal his name and tell his story.

Bazzel Baz is a former CIA agent who takes on the most impossible cases. And he doesn’t charge the heartsick family of the missing a penny. With volunteer help from other retired intelligence officers, Baz travels all over America and the world, covertly getting in and out of countries some of us can’t even pronounce.

His goal is getting children back to where they belong. So far, Baz and the boys have a 100% success rate. They’ve safely brought home 53 children.

Baz, an unmarried man who is a doting Uncle to two nieces, founded the Association for the Recovery of Children. Unlike the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children which recently got $40 million from Washington, Baz gets no government funds. He pays for his rescue missions out of his own pocket using his savings or the money he earns from writing Hollywood screenplays.

You can’t make up this stuff, folks. Somebody should make a movie about Bazzel Baz.

Why does he do it? Because, he says, after what he saw happen to children during his days in Special Ops in places like Somalia, Afghanistan and Iran he understands he has unique talents that could make a difference. He knows how to get in and out of a place nearly undetected.

“I should have been dead three times over,” he told me. “And now, I have this tradecraft I feel I have to do something meaningful with.”

Baz and his operatives work with surgical skill. After carefully studying each case they quietly move in on the target. They contact local law enforcement and tell them what they are up to. They never go in armed, they don’t break any laws. And their average mission time is about ten days. On average, mainstream law enforcement takes years not days to return a missing child. That’s if they return the child at all.

“Amazing what you can do when you don’t have to worry about all the red tape,” he told me.

I wondered if the terrified children ever resist rescue, afraid of the strange men who’ve come to help them home. Baz says they’re careful not to wear hoods or appear scary in any way.

“Diane, every single child – when they see us – they are ready to go,” he said. “They just get it.”

When Baz and his team went to Costa Rica to rescue five- and-a- half-year-old Lily Snyder, whose father and half-brother had kidnapped her from Ketchum, Idaho, Baz’s first words were comforting.

“Lily,” whispered Baz, “Your mother sent us and she loves you very much.” And a calm Lily whispered back, “I know. I’ve been waiting for you.” As for the men who illegally took her away? They are back in the states – in prison.

75% of Baz’s efforts are on behalf of mothers who’ve had their child torn away. 25% are fathers who needed help, like the deployed soldier whose wife ran off with another man and took the kids with her. Every case is a noble cause to this man with the strange sounding name.

I call him Baz the Magnificent, a sort of patron saint for impossible cases. Only after years of stealth operations has he come around to the notion that he could use some financial help. His Association for the Recovery of Children recently declared non-profit status, meaning donations are not only welcomed but desperately needed.

“I’m looking at four boxes full of cases right now. I know where the child is … 35 kids we could go rescue. We just don’t have the money right now.”

Does he ever consider charging the parents for his services, at least to cover costs?

“That doesn’t sit right with me,” he says. “If you take money from a grieving parent you’re in it for the wrong reason.”

Maybe the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children could send some of that 40 million bucks Bazzel Baz’s way?

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

John L. Shelton August 30, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Diane, what a great story. It’s really to bad that children who have been kidnaped and taken out of the country, that there isn’t some way people like Baz can’t receive money from law enforcement, which is truly their job in the first place, to help Baz in getting these kids back home. (He says it only takes an average of 10 days) That shouldn’t run into a lot of money, and it would be a marvelous PR for the police departments. Don’t you think? — Johnny

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Diane September 1, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Yes, Johnny – I think that would be a great idea! And if local law enforcement can’t shoulder the price tag it’d be great if some federal funds could kick in. No disrespect to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children here – but I know they know about Baz and his success rate (100%!) so I’m truly wondering if the NCMEC might want to earmark a tiny fraction of the 40 million dollars it recently got from Washington for Baz and the boys. Then, everyone’s a winner. ~ DD

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BAZ , SHARKEY A. August 30, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Diane , Thank you so much for something that I think should have been written a long time ago. I have a copy of the pilot movie that was made during one of the recovery missions. I have looked at that movie many times and wondered where are all of the do gooders that talk about doing what is correct when it comes to missing children. Not because he is my son but because he believes so much in what is right and is doing something about it. His mother, sister and I are so very proud of him and hope and pray each day that others will come to the aid of such a worthy cause.
Thank you for being one of those who have stepped forward and have contributed to such a just cause.

Our very best to you in all your endeavors.

Sincerely

The Baz family.

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Clint in Manhattan August 30, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Diane,
Great story.
No matter what else is going on in your life, if you are separated from your children, all else is overshadowed.
That Makes Bazzel’s work as important as any work.
He shows that things can actually get done if the right person with the right perserverence is on the case.

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Alicia Cozort August 31, 2008 at 2:17 am

Diane…
I’ve heard many things about Baz over the years, some good and some bad. Some calling him a hero and others calling him nothing of the sort. For once there is someone who sees him and his mission for what it is, to put the children first. He sees them as human beings, not case numbers or files. His mission is to save their lives and protect their well-being from danger. He gives a voice to those who have none and to those who are not heard. He gives hope to the hopeless, and he gives life back to those who have become lifeless without their children. Growing up, I never had to worry about something bad happening to me as a child, because I always knew my Uncle Baz would protect me. He has always been there for me and even now, as his eldest niece at 22, he still protects me. I am so proud of my uncle and all that he stands for, and I am so thankful that the children have someone who will protect them…my uncle. Thank you for writing the truth and I hope that all who read about my uncle realize that he doesn’t think of himself as a hero, he doesn’t do this for glory or fame, he saves children because that is what he was meant to do, because the children need him…and to the children, to me, he’s the hero this world needs. **I love you Uncle Baz…and thank you for always protecting me.**

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Montana August 31, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Great story!!! Going to cross post with your permission.

Montana

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Diane September 4, 2008 at 8:21 am

Clint …And that he does it, for the most part, without outside funding! With a 100% success rate on rescuing missing kids think how many he could reunite with some regular funds coming in. ~ DD

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John R. Lancellotti August 31, 2008 at 4:20 pm

GREAT STORY DIANE. NICELY WRITTEN. A REAL GOOD FEATURE. WHY NOT PRINT IT AND SEND IT TO A MOVIE PRODUCER. I THINK MAKING IT INTO A MOVIE IS THE RIGHT IDEA. BEST ALWAYS, JOHN

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Diane August 31, 2008 at 7:12 pm

FROM; Galen Kaufman

Please put me on Bazzel Baz’s list. My daughter, Camille, was taken by her mother on July 9, probably to Central or South America.
Camille is still missing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzyx75sLZMA

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Diane September 4, 2008 at 8:23 am

Please, please, contact A.R.C. at Baz’s website: http://www.associationfortherecoveryofchildren.org/about_ARC.html
~ DD

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Barby Woods September 1, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Your story about Baz made me want to cry. If I had extra money, you know I would send it to him. We are so fortunate to have a healthy son, getting ready to graduate from college. Don’t know what I would have done if anything happened to him. It’s men like Baz who helps to keep some sort of balance alive in our crazy country. Thanks for the artcle!

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Terry Case September 1, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Diane,
What a great story you tell, and what a wonderful man to risk his life to save children. I have 5 children and 1 grandson and cannot imagine my life if any one of them were ever missing. Is there a website where we can go to learn more, or send a donation? Keep up the great work–your columns are always interesting and informative and I look forward to them each week!

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Diane September 1, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Many people have written me privately to ask where they can make a donation. Go to Bazzel Baz’s website at:

http://www.associationfortherecoveryofchildren.org/about_ARC.html

On the front page there is a button to click to donate. Thanks! ~ DD

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Sandy September 1, 2008 at 3:54 pm

What a great article and what a fabulous person Baz is! As a mom and a grandma I cannot even imagine how I would survive if someone stole one of my kids/grandkids & took him/her out of the country. I’d spend every penny I had trying to get them back. God Bless this wonderful man; many thanks to him and his team for reuniting families.

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Adrian McManus September 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Diane, that was a great story!! That man really puts his life in danger!! Talk about brave!!!!!!!!! Now he is the real Superman!!!!!!!!!! So many people think about the mightly dollar, its hard to believe he does this with out charging. Keep up the great work Diane.

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jeff hughes September 1, 2008 at 4:51 pm

He is an angel in disguise! Also, can’t help but be surprised that foreign officials help him to return the children! I guess most people really do remember thair childhoods to help in any way! Keep the news coming, girl!

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Jerry Burke September 1, 2008 at 10:03 pm

This sounds like a movie… why doesn’t someone snap this up and tell this man’s story? it could easily be something you’d see on Lifetime or, even better, in a theatre. It’s an uplifting plot that let’s people believe there can be Hope in even the most hope-less situations.
Keep ’em coming.
JB

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Jenna Lamond September 1, 2008 at 10:46 pm

This story was fascinating, and really highlights the issues of bureaucracy and red tape actually hindering rather than helping those in need. If this guy can make a few calls/connections, and locate a missing child halfway around the world, it makes me despair of the agencies who are actually *supposed* to be handling these cases. God forbid anything were to happen to one of my 3 kids, I’d be contacting Baz before I called the police. Or, in addition. Thanks for the info on how to donate to further his cause. Love the columns!!

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Gail Hartley September 2, 2008 at 9:13 am

Diane,
Thanks for making this a priority in your article-writing!! Like the Bible says, (paraphrased!), “we don’t know unless we hear, we don’t hear, unless its told”. Thank you for telling Bazzel’s story!!!!!

I will be donating as soon as possible! I’ve known the Baz family for about 40 years, and I know them all to be some of the best people around. Thank God for people like Bazzel who listen to the call, and follow it! Love you guys!!!!!!!
Gail

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JSRP September 2, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Diane,

I have worked with BAZ and his team for years. I am also from the intelligence community like BAZ. I have never met a more ethic, honest or christian man in my life…he is “the real deal”. I consider an honor to assist he and his team in any way possible. Thank God for people like BAZ. Best “JSRP” code name

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Renee September 3, 2008 at 12:32 am

Diane,

Hello, what a beautiful article on a beautiful man. This man does have a heart of gold. I am so happy Baz is finally getting not only the recognition he deserves (not that he wants it) but the publicity to help him continue to save more children.
Thank you for putting out this article on Baz and ARC, this could be the start of bringing home hundreds and knowing Baz, thousands more missing children. May God bless every mission and every child.
Renee

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Frank Feldinger September 3, 2008 at 1:46 pm

What a gorgeous story! And what a spiritually uplifting way to start the day; reading about a man above venality who has dedicated his life to serving those stricken with a parent’s worst nightmare: A child at risk and no way to help or even to know how.
SAINT Baz would be an appropriate name: Miracles are effected by his direct intervention.

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Diane September 4, 2008 at 8:24 am

Frank –
Miracle is just the right word to describe what Baz does. Thanks for writing. ~ DD

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Martin L. Hudler September 4, 2008 at 2:56 am

Dear Diane:
On Friday, August 30th, I spent two hours with Baz in XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX having coffee and discussing in great detail what level of support is needed for ARC. I am a businessman first, I sit on the boards of two other non-profits and the proud father of 5 children. We have recently got involved with Baz and Global Triton to seek out the private funding for ARC’s mission and operations. In doing so, it would be wonderful for an individual such as yourself with your talent, contacts and business accumen would continue to support ARC (Baz) by promoting his site to make donations. We on the otherhand are seeking funding from private and more institutionalized donors. This process takes time and unfortunately ARC could launch in 7 days for two more kids if you could help us raise the average of 45K per child domesticly and 75K internationally. Can we count on your continued support by keeping this issue in the forefront of your programing? Let us rise up together, all of us as a nation of many to commit ourselves to returning ten 10 children home to their custodial parent by Christmas Eve – 2008? We’re in…can we count on you and your staff?

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Diane September 4, 2008 at 8:29 am

Dear Mr. Hudler:
Staff? You’ve got to be kidding me! I am but one lone voice out here just writing meaningful stories that touch me. But I so applaud you’re initiative in meeting with Baz to figure out how to get much needed funds flowing his way (I blocked out the location for Baz’s safety)
You can count on me to continue to get the word out in every way I can. Please, ~ everyone ~ copy my column and hand it to anyone you think could spare 25 bucks, 100. or 1 thousand dollars.
As Mr. Hudler says – let’s bring home some kids for Christmas!

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Martin L. Hudler September 4, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Dear Diane:

You’re wonderful!

Please understand that there exists a group of individuals such as myself who are bussiness people, Pastors, homemakers, factory workers and military servicemen and women who are quietly and passionately behind such agencies as ARC, Tiny Stars and Global Triton. All of us involved at every level are 100% committed to the following;

1) none of us ever seek out or enjoy public recoginition for our accomplishments or support. The thanks of a grateful parent(s) is more than enough.

2) putting a stop to human trafficing and the abuse of children who are being and have been expoited on a national level as well as internationally.

3) we are commited to NEVER taking money from the parent(s) who have a missing children…it is morally, ethically and fundamentally just wrong and unacceptable!

4) we wish to serve and assist law enforcement officers at every level and allow them all accolades from our services provided and involvement. Our operators are servants and a group of well honed tools for their use.

5) to build an agency that will in 5 years and in 200 years be reconized as the international agency that puts children, families and the happiness first while staying committed to our ideals, the laws of the land and the principals that we so strongly support!

I too am but one man…but so was Lincoln, Ghandi, King, Walesa and so many others. They all awoke one day committed to an ideal and the effort of bringing about that ideal to reality. They first brought their ideals of change to their homes, then to their neighbors, then to a community, then to city and ultimately to a nation and the rest of the world!

Yes…one person can and has made a difference! So come on and join us in building an agency on the belief that one supporter at a time can and WILL make
a difference in the life of a child and their familities! So goes the family…so goes the nation!

Sooner rather than later our agency will evolve into the next United Way or the American Red Cross. Let it continue to do so with your support and commentary. Keep us alive and on the forefront of the fighting line Diane!

A sincere thanks for your support and generous gift. Let us hope others will follow your example? How can we continue to serve and support you and your family?

I remain,

Sincerely yours,
Martin L. Hudler

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Barry Nolan September 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Dear Diane,
Among your many skills that I have come to admire – this is what i think you do best. Tell simply and powerfully, honestly and movingly, the stories of unsung heroes bringing justice and healing to a world that is sometimes too busy to hear the cries of the wounded. Thanks to you and to Baz. You both make the world a better place.

Sincerely,
Barry Nolan

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Steven December 30, 2008 at 2:15 am

Bazzel Baz is my hero. Just an incredibly guy who uses his skills to do some good in this world. We could do with more people like him.

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Charity Fisher January 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Just read the article about Baz written by Diane Dimond. Would love to help financially as well as in prayer.

Please provide a mailing address to send contributions.

Thanks, Charity Fisher

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Ewa Mascolo October 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Diane, what a wonderful and refreshing story. What Bazzel ( and his team !!!) does is priceless!! I wish my finacial situation was better so that I could contribute to his work. Best of luck to him!

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