"America's Most Wanted" to Help Search for Missing Missouri Boy
October 27, 2002 at 11:53 PM CST - Updated July 26 at 10:21 PM
Family and friends of a missing Heartland boy say they now feel certain that foul play was involved in his disappearance.
It's been three weeks since eleven-year old Shawn Hornbeck was last seen riding his bike near his hometown of Richwoods, Missouri. While local searchers haven't been able to find any sign of the boy, they hope that some exposure on “America’s Most Wanted” could lead to a break in the case.
“We definitely think there's a criminal element involved at this point,” says volunteer search and rescue director Scott Barclay.“If he were just lost, I think we would've found him because of the searching we've done over the three-mile radius of the command center, and how well it has been gone over again and again. We know he's not in this particular section.”
But if Shawn Hornbeck isn't anywhere in the command center’s target area, it means he could be anywhere in the country.That's why “America's Most Wanted” will be visiting the Shawn Hornbeck Search and Rescue Command Center on Monday, to talk to the little boy's parents, and to put their story on national television.“If he has been abducted and is out of the area completely, then of course, this is going to help drastically,” explains Barclay, who is also a close family friend.“Then somebody may see him at a different truck stop or a different area of the country, and maybe we'll be able to get him back that way.”
Meanwhile, the work of local searchers will continue.The command center stays busy 24-hours a day, with some volunteers taking calls and logging tips in the computers, and others checking them out in the field.One of the many tips that's come into the center led searchers to believe that they might be able to find Shawn on a giant piece of private property in the area known as the Kingston Ranch.That's where searchers are focusing their efforts right now.But with more than thirty thousand fenced-in acres to cover, they need all the help they can get.“We need volunteers desperately to do foot searches, ATV searches, and horseback searches,” Barclay says.“It’s rough terrain, and we want to cover it all.But so far we haven't found any kind of evidence of where Shawn is.”
There is now an eleven thousand dollar reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in Shawn Hornbeck's disappearance.There is also a twenty thousand dollar reward being offered for Shawn’s safe return.