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"Spirit of God" opens, in my hands would fade and die. "If I cannot unfold a rosebud, flowers of God's creation, then, how can I think I have the wisdom to unfold this life of mine? ... For the pathway that lies before me my Heavenly Father knows -- I'll trust Him in faith to unfold the future, like He unfolds the rose." Rand said the 188-word letter is "my Mother's Day gift to the ladies there." The missive is a revision -- primarily grammatical changes -- of a hand-written Advance File Photo "Should I become a millionaire, it would be my true nature to grant all of you with each, an envelope full of seeds, to plant and cultivate a rosebush (shrub) that produces roses every season, as a token of my heartfelt forgiveness (year after year), rather than bouquets of rosebuds which blossoms and shortly dies-out," wrote Andre Rand, a drifter and one-time handyman.

card Rand also mailed to the Advance from his prison cell in upstate Great Meadow Correctional Facility. The writings, sent in separate envelopes, were received early last week, just after Mother's Day. Rand is serving consecutive 25-years-to-life sentences for two kidnapping convictions. He is not eligible for parole until 2037, when he'll be 93 years old. In October 2004, the Manhattan native was found guilty in state Supreme Court, St. George, of abducting Holly Ann Hughes, 7, as she walked on a street in her Port Richmond neighborhood 23 years earlier. Her body was never found. There is no time limit in New York state for bringing first-degree kidnapping charges.

Previously, in 1988, Rand was convicted of abducting Westerleigh resident Jennifer Schweiger, 12, in July 1987. A month after her disappearance, the victim's body was discovered in a shallow grave on the grounds of the former Willowbrook State School, now the College of Staten Island. Rand had a makeshift campsite nearby. A Staten Island jury could not reach a verdict on a murder charge in that case. Although never formally charged, Rand's name has surfaced in connection with several other disappearances back dating to 1972 on Staten Island, including two young girls. The latest writings come almost 10 years after Rand last corresponded with the Advance. In November 2001, the Manhattan native, while in prison, sent a series of letters to the newspaper dating to 1994. They, too, were drafted in a neat, clear hand so precise a computer could have spit them out. Some had originally been sent to his upstate high school and apparent strangers. The writings included an argument against nuclear proliferation, the dewy-eyed recollections of a youth spent racing hot rods, and a lonely man's offer to correspond with a complete stranger for "friendship." Rand also included a detailed sketch of a small aircraft and its control panel.

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May 2011  
May 2011  

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