"We're his people," Simmons says. "I can't imagine how terrified he is."
Simmons's family adopted Alex from a shelter about 24 years ago. Alex had been caught in the wild and somehow ended up in New Orleans. He'd been neglected and as a result, he's never been able to fly. He also has a seizure disorder and has fallen off his perch in the past, causing him to break a wing or a bone.
Alex loves attention, Simmons says. "He's like any person you'd ever meet," he says. "He wants to be loved and cuddled." He's been known to ride around on his owners' shoulders and hang out with them on PivotPoint's stoop. The neighbors all know him, partly because he's so loud, Simmons says. Alex loves to whistle and his vocabulary includes such phrases as, "Come here," "I'm a good bird," and "What's your problem?"Simmons and Botran don't have any solid leads on the birdnapper, though they do have a hunch. The day before Alex was taken, a young woman came to the office ostensibly selling Comcast upgrades. But when she noticed Alex, she stopped talking about Comcast and started asking questions about the bird. "She was very interested," Botran says.
Botran took a phone call in the middle of her visit and when he hung up, the woman told him that she'd talked to her boss and there were no updates she could offer PivotPoint after all. She departed soon afterward. She didn't leave a business card, and Botran only got her first name: Ariel. From the moment she walked in, he and Simmons sensed there was something weird about her; she wasn't dressed professionally, her hair was messy and she didn't have a badge identifying her as a Comcast saleswoman. "It was odd," Simmons says.
Continue reading for more on Alex's disappearance, plus more photos and videos.