Vanderberg Released From Jail, On Bus Heading For Los Angeles
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) _ A drifter who duped authorities into believing he was an abandoned teen- ager unable to speak or hear left for Los Angeles after writing a final note saying he learned a lesson about honesty.
Gordon Angel Vanderberg, 22, bid goodbye with hugs and kisses to speech pathologist Anne Huey and members of the Michl McGee family, who had been his foster family earlier this week, before boarding a bus to Los Angeles.
In response to a note from The Associated Press asking if there was something he’d like to say publicly, Vanderberg, a convicted felon, printed on a notepad:
″Mcgee’s & Anne
I leern lot bout honesty
I will do best to mak myself beter.″
Vanderberg was released from Laramie County Jail Friday because authorities said no one wanted to press charges. Authorities had said they were considering misdemeanor fraud charges.
Police had been holding Vanderberg in jail since Tuesday evening, when they matched his fingerprints to those in New Jersey and New York criminal records. He had been convicted of forgery, felony trespassing and arson.
Vanderberg had arrived in Cheyenne on a bus from Denver on Oct. 26, carrying a five-page letter signed ″Mommy″ but no other identification. The letter indicated that he was 17 years old, that he became deaf in infancy because of illness, that he was illiterate and that his mother had sent him into the world to find a better life.
″There’s nothing left to be done,″ said Laramie County District Attorney Tom Carroll.
Vanderberg had received a psychiatric evaluation earlier Friday that determined he ″was not a danger to himself or others,″ Carroll said. Vanderberg indicated that he was from California, ″but we don’t know anything else and we’ve done all we can do,″ Carroll said.
Cheyenne attorney Rodger McDaniel, who agreed to represent Vanderberg, said, ″The man and another person who purchased the ticket and gave him money for food would like to remain anonymous.″ He said Vanderberg indicated that he knows a counselor at the Greater Los Angeles Agency for the Deaf and would like to go back to that organization.
The assistant director of GLAAD said in a telephone conversation Friday that Vanderberg has no family in Los Angeles but had been a client of the agency before. He said he believes Vanderberg is ″legally″ deaf. Cheyenne police said they think Vanderberg can talk, although he communicated only by writing in Cheyenne.
The GLAAD official, who declined to give his name, said his agency does some counseling, but it is not a psychiatric agency.
″If he comes here, we most certainly will counsel him, but he really needs to go to St. Elizabeth’s where he can get the professional help he needs,″ the man said, referring to the mental health hospital in Washington, D.C.
Officials confirmed Wednesday that Vanderberg had attended a ″mental health program for the deaf″ at St. Elizabeth’s.
Cheyenne police began to piece together Vanderberg’s background when the bus driver who drove him from Denver to Cheyenne told police the young man had talked.