By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
Back at the central terminal, the Covenant House's Perold Pierre believes Allie is in a dangerous situation on the street. He signals her, and she leaves a group of kids draped over a bench to talk privately with him. He hopes it's the beginning of trust. "My heart goes out to that girl," he says. "I feel so bad for her. And if something happens to her, who is going to be responsible?"
He asks Allie why she doesn't stay at a shelter and get her life back on track. He tells her the Covenant House has counselors.
But she is enamored of the excitement of street life. "I can tell if someone does crack," she says. "I can tell if someone is a drug dealer just by looking at them. The police can't even do that. You learn a lot out here. You learn to be independent, for one thing."
Allie says she isn't looking to hook up with a guy. "A lot of the girls here are dirty," she says. "They have sex with everybody."
She believes she'll return home, finish high school, go to college, and study forensic science or become a police officer, "strange as that may seem." That way, she would be able to nail men like her father who murder their wives. In March, DCF removed her from her father's house, she says, after discovering she had bruises on her neck. Reached by telephone, William Boatwright declined to comment on his daughter's situation or why she is in state care. "Frankly, I don't trust the lady," he said of Allie's caseworker.
Every time Allie runs from a shelter, she returns to her father's Lake Worth home. Like the child she is, she believes that if she takes off enough, DCF will give up on her and let her go home. Lately, she's been showing up at her father's house around 2 a.m., she says. At that hour, her father lets her inside. He gives her something to eat and lets her sleep, but then he forces her to leave.
She says she hates her father, although the relationship is clearly more complex that that. Asked about it, she says tersely, "He's not a nice man."
It's not family love that she longs for, she claims. It's the bed at her dad's place. "I can go to sleep there whenever I want to. I can sleep all day and all night. And that's pretty much what I like to do."