The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 23, 2013

Barton County sheriff thanks agencies that helped in search

LAMAR, Mo. — Officials involved in the search for Adriaunna Horton expressed thanks to law enforcement and volunteers on Friday, just hours before charges against the 12-year-old’s alleged abductor were amended to include rape and murder.

Barton County Sheriff Mitchell Shaw said he summoned help from other jurisdictions on Monday after his department was notified in a 911 call the child was missing from a Golden City park less than a half-block from her home.

The outcome of the search, Shaw said, had been “heartbreaking for the family, for the officers and the whole community.”

Shaw appeared in a press conference with leaders from some of those agencies on Friday in Lamar. His goal, he said, was to recognize departments that helped in the search, though most of the questions focused on the investigation and on Bobby Bourne Jr., of Lockwood, who has been charged in the child’s death.

Steven Kaderly, Barton County prosecuting attorney, also was on hand at the press conference, along with Sgt. Mike Watson, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers, other public safety workers and volunteers were involved in the search, which started about 5:30 p.m. Monday and ended at mid-day Wednesday with the discovery of the child’s body.

“We had sheriffs and police chiefs who pulled their people off assignments and sent them to us,” Shaw said.

He also praised volunteers from the community who searched on foot, on horseback and riding all-terrain vehicles and expressed thanks to the city of Golden City, whose officials turned their City Hall over to the search effort.

Henry Lopez, Golden City mayor, said he was proud of Golden City and the local response among volunteers who turned out to search, and those who turned out to support the searchers.

During the effort, meals were served to volunteers and professional searchers out of City Hall by volunteers who showed up to cook food donated to feed those who had converged on the small town.

“We served 300 meals a day, three times a day, and about 90 percent of the food was donated,” the mayor said.

Since the discovery of Adriaunna’s body, “everyone is hurting terribly for the family and the whole community,” said Lopez.

The mayor said he always has viewed Golden City “as a quiet island” where many people left their doors unlocked and keys in their cars.

“I really think that will change,” he said. “Even through what happened wasn’t a random act, I think parents are going to be reluctant to let their kids play alone in the park, or walk home alone from the school bus,” he said.

Funeral arrangements for Adriaunna Horton still are being planned and will be under the direction of Pugh Funeral Home in Golden City.

Recognized

Law enforcement agencies that helped in the search and investigation included sheriff’s departments from Barton, Bates, Cedar, Jasper and Dade counties, police departments in El Dorado Springs, Webb City, Lockwood and Lamar, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the FBI.

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