In search of Kadin Black: Troubled York County teen mysteriously went missing last year
By Mike Argento, York Daily Record,2023-09-21
On Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, Kadin Black sat down with Chris and Amy Foust and their children, Josie and Ethan, for dinner. It seemed like any other family dinner. Kadin was like a member of the family.
He had been living with the Fousts in their split-level suburban-style home on Vickilee Drive in a small development in East Prospect since he got out of York County Prison, bailed out by the Fousts while awaiting trial for an assault case, charges resulting from losing his temper, something that happened now and then.
Ethan Foust was one of his best friends. They had known each other since middle school, meeting on the school bus. “We just hit it off,” Ethan said, “and we’ve been friends ever since.” They were very different. Ethan was more into video games and Kadin was an athlete, always playing basketball or football, or going to the gym. And Ethan was white, and Kadin was Black, a tiny minority in the small, rural town not far from the Susquehanna River.
When he got in trouble with the law, the Fousts helped him out. His mother lived in Hamstead, Maryland, and his relationship with his father was complicated. Among the issues that landed him in jail was a fight he had with his father and his father’s fiancé that turned physical.
Earlier that Saturday, one week after his 19 th birthday, Kadin had been invited to go a car show in Reading with one of his co-workers at the moving company where he worked. He turned that down. He was kind of restless, the Fousts recalled. He wanted to go to a go-cart track in New Cumberland, but Chris wasn’t up to it; Chris had taken his medication for epilepsy and “just couldn’t do it,” the elder Foust said. Then, Kadin wanted to go to his boxing gym in West York to work out, but it was closing soon and is a half-hour drive away.
Kadin retreated to his room on the home’s second floor.
The Fousts never saw him again.
'Lower Windsor is not that large a place'
Kadin has been missing ever since.
There have been a few tips and possible sightings that never panned out. But he simply vanished. The Lower Windsor Township Police conducted a thorough search for him, Chief James Thomas said. But the tips have been sporadic, and his trail has run cold. Not long ago, police issued a news release asking the public for any information that may help them find Kadin. But nothing came of it.
The chief takes the case personally. He and his officers know Kadin, and not just from his run-ins with the law. They knew him personally, and as the chief said, “We like Kadin.” Now and then, officers would see Kadin around town while he was running or playing basketball at the park and would stop and talk to him. One officer would buy him a slice of pizza now and then while they spoke. When Kadin was running track at Eastern York High School – he is a sprinter – Thomas was the throwing coach. “I didn’t coach him,” he said. “He was quick.”
The township, hugging the river from Wrightsville to Long Level, is mostly rural, dotted with a few small towns. East Prospect had a population of 820, and of that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, fewer than 2% are Black. Everybody knows everybody and Kadin, as one of few Black residents, was known.
“Lower Windsor is not that large a place,” the chief said. “We take this personally. When something happens, it affects all of us."
'I wish he never moved back there'
Kadin is the middle child of Kara Patterson and Maurice Black’s three children, born just 18 months before his younger brother, Carter. His parents split up when he was 4 or 5 years old. At the time, they lived in Hanover – his father works in Maryland for a government contractor that supplies office furniture to federal offices – and Kadin lived with his mother across town from his father’s home. He grew up playing sports, football being among his favorites, playing pee-wee ball with Carter and eventually playing in high school. He was a wide receiver and grew up admiring the Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant. His father was one of his coaches. “I got to see him pretty much every day then,” Maurice said.
He worked out constantly. Chris Foust said he was one of those kids who wore shorts year-round. He ran and went to the gym, sometimes twice a day, and played basketball at the park down the street from the Fousts’ home and boxed. He liked boxing and one day hoped to be able to compete in the ring. Once, his parents said, he went for a 51-mile ride on his BMX bike, just to see whether he could do it. He did it in four hours. He told his mother he would have finished sooner if he hadn’t stopped at a Turkey Hill Minit Market for something to drink.
He couldn’t be still, his father said. “He always had to be doing something,” Marice said. “He always did everything a hundred percent.”
His father eventually moved to East Prospect, to a house on West Maple Street. His mother moved to Maryland for her job as an operations manager for a large company. Kadin moved to Maryland, to a small farm with his mother near Hampstead, looking for a fresh start. Kara hoped that the change of scenery would do him good. She later moved to a house on Route 30 – the main drag – in Hampstead and Kadin enrolled in high school in nearby Westminster.
“He’d have a fresh start in school,” Kara said. “I got a job promotion. The stars must be lining up.”
During the school year, Kara said, Kadin wanted to move back to Pennsylvania. “He missed it,” Kara said. “I wasn’t a big fan of him going back up there.” He missed his friends in East Prospect, he told the Fousts. He also told them that he didn’t get along with his stepfather.
He moved into his father’s house and went back to Eastern. “He said he missed being up here in general. It was more peaceful for him.”
The way things turned out, Kara said, “I wish he never moved back there. I just knew something would happen.”
'I didn't want to see him go to jail'
It didn’t take long for Kadin to get into trouble at school for fighting. He often got himself in trouble, his father said, because “he couldn’t stand bullies. He always stood up to them.” He got expelled from Eastern and was enrolled at Paradise School in Abbottstown, an alternative school that provides emotional support for troubled students.
Things were not going well with his father. “Him and I bumped heads a lot,” Maurice said. “We didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.”
His anger got the best of him on April 4, 2022. He was riding the school van that afternoon when he had an altercation with the driver. The driver, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case, had assigned Kadin a seat in the back of the bus, a mandate from the school because of his behavior. Kadin moved up to another seat and the driver pulled the bus over, telling Kadin that he was tired of his insolence and asked him to get off the bus. Kadin took off his shirt and confronted the driver, according to the complaint, slamming the bus door shut and throwing a clipboard and papers out of the van.
The bus driver told police that Kadin “became aggressive, grabbing him by the throat with his left hand and striking him in the face with his right. The driver grabbed a handful of Kadin’s hair and Kadin responded, “Let go of my hair or I’ll kill you.”
Kadin was charged with aggravated assault and related charges and released on $25,000 unsecured bail.
A few months later, he got into a fight with his father and his father’s fiancé. “That day was mainly on me,” Maurice said. “He was setting pictures of himself on fire, and he was just angry in general. He was just off. He wasn’t his normal self that day. He always did have issues with anger here and there.”
The police arrived and took Kadin to York Hospital, where he was involuntarily committed to the psychiatric unit. He had told police that he didn’t want to live, and under section 302 of the state’s Mental Health Procedures Act, that was enough to demonstrate that he was a danger to himself or others and have him committed for a psychiatric evaluation, as prescribed by the law.
“I didn’t want to see him go to jail,” his father said. “I wanted him to get help for his anger issues. As long as he got help, I would drop the charges. I just wanted him to get help. That was the only way he could get help.”
'He never wanted to go back to jail'
Chris Foust was at the dentist when he got a call informing him that Kadin was in the hospital. He bolted out of his appointment and went to see him. When he saw Kadin, they hugged. Chris spent four or five hours with Kadin that day, just talking.
In the hospital, Chris said, he initially acted out, trashing his room. Medication seemed to even him out and eventually, his mood calmed, Chris said. Chris visited him every day, bringing him dirt bike magazines and other comforts. A former air traffic controller, Chris had studied theology through a course offered by Liberty University. He gave Kadin a Bible and talked about the healing power of faith to him, among other, more mundane things. “He just wanted to be loved,” Chris said.
During his hospitalization, Kadin had tested positive for COVID, which set back his evaluation and treatment. As far as Chris knows, Kadin left the hospital without a diagnosis.
When he was released from the hospital, Kadin went straight to York County Prison, awaiting a new bail hearing. He was already facing charges from the bus incident when he got into the altercation with his father and his fiancé and that required that his bail be reset.
Chris tried to bail him out immediately, but there were several delays, and Kadin remained in the prison for several weeks. It didn’t go well, Chris recalled. He remembered seeing Kadin sporting bruises and wounds, evidence of getting into fights with other inmates. When his bail was set, Kara arranged with the Fousts to post his bail, $3,000, and have him released to their custody.
Kadin moved into the Fousts’ home in September or so. They had painted a bedroom for him and bought a new bed. They wanted him to feel at home. They wanted him to feel a part of the family. And he was. He had previously spent a lot of time at the Fousts’, swimming in their backyard pool and hanging out with Ethan playing video games.
When Kadin arrived at the Fousts’ home, Ethan asked him what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to walk around town, so they went for a walk. As they walked along East Prospect Road, Kadin’s father drove by. He didn’t acknowledge his son, Ethan recalled.
Later, Ethan said, Kadin told him, “He never wanted to go back to jail.”
He wanted 'to have a better life'
Kadin seemed to do well in the Fousts’ home. He had been running a lawn care business, mowing and mulching, and had bought two new mowers to expand the business, but the mowers were stolen shortly after he bought them and set him back. “With Kadin,” Chris said, “it was always one step forward and two steps back. He just couldn’t catch a break.”
His mother gave him his grandmother’s 2002 Toyota 4-Runner, and he and Chris set about rebuilding it “from the engine block up,” Chris said. He enjoyed working on the truck and in the end Chris said they put countless hours and thousands of dollars into the project.
Chris liked having Kadin around. Being athletic himself, he was glad to have someone to accompany him to the gym and work out or go for bike rides. Things seemed to be going well for Kadin.
He appreciated what the Fousts did for him – they bought him clothes and Amy worked with him to study for his GED – but he felt guilty. “He felt he didn’t deserve what we were doing for him,” Amy said. “He couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that two people who barely knew him cared about him.”
She said, “He looked at us and our family and wondered why he couldn’t have that. He just wanted to start over and have a better life.”
As time passed, his mood darkened. He was trying to find a job, but with charges pending, it was difficult. He was able to get a job with a moving company, but the work wasn’t steady, and when he did work, he would go to work and come home and go straight to bed. On days he didn’t work, he would stay up into the early morning hours, playing video games and hanging out with Ethan, sometimes until the sun rose. On days he didn’t work, he would retreat to his bedroom and sleep all day. “It wasn’t abnormal for Kadin to sleep all day and get up at 7 or 8 (p.m.) and say, ‘Let’s go do things,’” Chris said. “Or he’d get bored and go for a run.”
His mother said he was “down,” that he told her he should have never returned to Pennsylvania and that he always screwed up and that all he wanted to do was play football.
'Was something off?'
The week before he disappeared, he had spoken to his mother, making plans for spending Christmas at her home. She told him she planned to make his favorite breakfast, creamed chipped beef, and went to the butcher shop to buy the meat. He kept changing his mind on what he wanted for Christmas, and she said, “I’ll just give you money.” He said, “That’s fine.”
Kara had a lot going on, preparing for the holidays while working a job that demanded a lot of her attention. She signed off, telling Kadin she loved him. He said, “I love you, too, see you Christmas Eve.”
Kara said, “I remember getting off the phone and thinking, ‘Did I rush to get off the phone? Was something off?’ You get so busy in life that you forget what’s important.”
'What do you mean, he isn't there?'
On Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, Maurice was concerned.
Kadin had made plans to stop by his house and run with his dogs. Kadin did that pretty much every Sunday, concerned that his dad’s dogs didn’t get enough exercise. But Kadin didn’t show.
Maurice called Chris and asked whether Kadin was around, telling him that his son had planned to come to his place that afternoon. Chris said he hadn’t seen Kadin, but that was not unusual. He may still be sleeping. There were times while Kadin was living with them it wasn’t unusual for a couple of days to pass without them seeing him, Chris told him.
The following Tuesday, Maurice still didn’t hear anything from Kadin and called Chris to see what was going on. Chris told him Kadin wasn’t there. “What do you mean, he isn’t there?” Maurice replied.
The Fousts checked his room, and he wasn’t there. The Fousts aren’t sure when he left the house, but between Saturday evening and Tuesday morning, when they found that he wasn’t there, they had no idea what happened.
All they knew was he was gone.
No evidence of foul play
The Lower Windsor Township Police took the missing person call seriously, Chief Thomas said. On the one hand, the chief said, Kadin was over 18, and technically an adult, and he could do what he wanted. On the other hand, the circumstances seemed very unusual.
Police officers searched Kadin’s room and found a homemade Ouija board, some alcohol and hand-written rap lyrics that mentioned a girl, but nothing that would provide evidence of his disappearance. They searched his father’s home and came up empty as far as evidence was concerned. They searched the area and called in a drone operator to scan the rugged terrain between East Prospect and the river and came up empty. They learned that Kadin’s cell phone was last used at the Fousts’ home. There was no activity on his phone after that – his phone was either turned off or it died – and their searches did not turn it up. They cloned the phone to see whether they could find anything of value. They didn’t. He had deposited his paycheck the week before, but since he went missing, his bank account has been untouched.
As the weeks passed, the trail cooled. In April, police held a press conference asking for leads , and few came in, but none panned out. They received a tip that Kadin had been spotted in Pittsburgh, but after reviewing surveillance footage, it turned out that the person was not Kadin.
At one point, they received a tip from a psychic who claimed to have had a vision of Kadin in the water, by a dam. Police don’t normally follow up tips from self-proclaimed clairvoyants, but it seemed like a plausible lead, so they contacted the Rawlinsville Fire Department in Lancaster County, which has a water rescue unit, to check the Holtwood Dam. Divers, as part of a training exercise, checked the intakes of the dam and found nothing.
Lower Windsor Township police worked with the York County District Attorney’s office and the sheriff’s department, the FBI, the Center for Exploited and Missing People and other agencies.
So far, they have found no evidence of foul play. Nor have they found any evidence of Kadin’s whereabouts.
“The tips have been sporadic and not as plentiful as I hoped,” Thomas said. “We hope to find him. It’s been kind of head scratching.”
Conspiracy theories spread on social media
In the months that Kadin has been missing, Kara has maintained a Facebook page, “Find Kadin Black,” to generate tips or any information that would help.
She had received several tips, which she passed on to police, but none have borne fruit. She has also heard from five psychics who claimed to have had visions of Kadin. And there have been some far-fetched conspiracy theories posted on the site.
Some of those targeted the Fousts.
Early on, the family printed and posted flyers listing the phone numbers of Kara, the Fousts and the police, asking that anyone who had information about his whereabouts contact them. After receiving a number of crank calls – including one demanding a ransom – the Fousts asked that their number be deleted from the flyer. That led to speculation on social media that the family was hiding something. People were asking, why did you take your phone number off the flyer? What are you hiding?
And then it got worse.
This past winter, when the temperatures dipped into the single digits, the epoxy finish on the Fousts’ garage floor cracked. Chris posted a photo of the cracks on Facebook and that led to speculation among commenters that the Fousts had killed Kadin, cut up his body and buried the parts under the concrete garage floor.
“We stay off (social media) now,” Chris said. “That makes us never want to help anybody out again. We didn’t expect this to happen.”
'It's been a bad year'
In February, Kara quit her full-time job. It demanded a lot of her, and her heart just wasn’t in it. Thoughts of Kadin were always occupying her mind. “I couldn’t take it,” she said. “I just quit.” She now works part-time cutting hair at a barber shop just up the street from her home.
She hadn’t told Kadin’s grandmother that he was missing, but once while visiting her, she asked Kara whether Kadin was OK. She told Kara she had a dream about him and saw him under water. “She didn’t know,” Kara said. “I told her, ‘We can’t find Kadin.’ She said, ‘Oh, no.’”
Kadin has also occupied her dreams. In one, she said, she walked into a room and saw Kadin lying under a down comforter on the floor. She could see the side of his face. When he emerged from the blanket, she said, she told him, “I knew it was you.” He then hugged her and told her he loved her and said, “I got to go.”
Kara said, “Then, I wake up.”
In another dream, she saw Kadin hanging by his foot from a tree and woke with a start at 2 or 3 in the morning. “You drive yourself crazy,” she said. “Do these things mean things?”
Kadin also occupies Maurice’s mind. “Him and I butted heads, but I still love him,” he said. “It’s been miserable. It’s just been a mystery, not a clue, nothing. It’s just mind boggling.”
His parents and the Fousts don't like to speculate about what may have led to Kadin's disappearance. "I've been thinking so many horrible things, so many horrible thoughts," Kara said. "People just don't vanish into thin air. There has to be something that led up to it."
Kara said, “I don’t want his case to go cold. That’s the thing, no resolution. I have to live the rest of my life...”
Her voice cracks and tears form in her eyes.
“It’s been a bad year.”
Columnist/reporter Mike Argento has been a York Daily Record staffer since 1982. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: In search of Kadin Black: Troubled York County teen mysteriously went missing last year