The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 22, 2013

Golden City mourns loss of young girl

GOLDEN CITY, Mo. — Every afternoon as Golden City students moved toward waiting school buses, Adriaunna Horton would pop out of line and give him a hug, Superintendent Kevin Baldwin said Thursday.

“She’d hug the principal too, because we’d both be out there as the buses loaded. I’ll miss that,” he said.

Baldwin said it was “a tough day” at the school on Thursday, one day after Adriaunna’s body was found at the crushing end of a three-day search that brought hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officers to this small town. The 12-year-old had just started a new year of classes on Monday and was abducted while playing after school that day at a park a half-block from her home.

A small memorial, with flowers and burning candles, was created in a place at the park where Adriaunna had played with siblings and friends.

The youngster, who had just started classes as a sixth-grader, “loved school and was a good student,” the superintendent said.

Joy Bishop, who rode the same bus when she attended school in Golden City, said, “She was a good student and really smart.”

Bishop said the abduction and search had “made things crazy” in the small town where everyone knows one another. Now 19 and a student at Crowder College, she said she thought the ordeal might make people feel less secure. She said what happened to Adriaunna shouldn’t occur anywhere in a community of any size.

“I don’t know how someone could do that to an innocent child,” she said.

The criminal investigation continued Thursday with a contingent of FBI officers and other law enforcement personnel working out of City Hall in Golden City. Other city activities ceased in the building when the search started, and the front door still had a hand-lettered sign reading “law enforcement only.”

Baldwin said that at the end of school on Wednesday, he called the staff together to tell teachers and others that a body had been found.

“We had a meeting to break the news,” he said. “It was so tough, but we knew they needed to be together and talk about it before they left school.”

Additional counselors were brought into the school Thursday, arriving early to meet with the staff before classes started. The counseling crew included the school district’s one counselor and five others who volunteered from neighboring school districts.

“We wanted the staff to be able to meet with the counselors first, to be able to talk or ask questions,” Baldwin said. “The counselors have been roaming the halls and responding to individual students and situations. As much as we can, we’re trying to keep everything as normal as possible.”

He said attendance was good Thursday, and he believed it was important for students to be able to return to school and be together with their teachers and classmates.

“We have great students and great teachers,” he said. “We’re all hanging together.”

An autopsy on the body discovered near Golden City was conducted Thursday in Springfield.

Sgt. Mike Watson, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said late Thursday that the body was positively identified as Adriaunna. The search for the missing girl was halted Wednesday once the body was discovered.

Watson said no preliminary findings of the autopsy would be released at this time. Investigators have declined to discuss the state of the body or the cause or manner of death.

Bobby D. Bourne Jr., 34, of Lamar, remains in custody in the case on a kidnapping charge that was filed Tuesday. No additional charges have been filed against him. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Bourne had been on probation related to convictions in Cedar County for assault on an El Dorado Springs police officer, resisting arrest and domestic assault. A probable-cause affidavit states that on Oct. 30, 2011, in a parking lot of a supermarket in El Dorado Springs, he grabbed his girlfriend, Brandy Bench, by her jaw and shoved her.

A police officer responding to the scene arrested Bourne for alleged domestic assault, and he was taken to the El Dorado Springs Police Department, where he reportedly got into a scuffle with the officer. During the scuffle, he tried to grab the officer’s Taser, according to the affidavit.

In 2012, Bourne was arrested for another alleged domestic assault in Lockwood involving a stepdaughter, according to court records.

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