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Without a Trace? Nearly 1,000 Missing in Missouri

SPRINGFIELD -- Some of them are gone without a trace, others left clues but the trail went cold. They are the Missouri Missing and there are nearly 1,000 of them.
They've completely, basically gone off the grid from the whole society, no one knows where they are.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Some of them are gone without a trace, others left clues but the trail went cold. They are the Missouri Missing and there are nearly 1,000 of them.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol serves as a clearinghouse for all of these cases, but finding the missing is still the responsibility of the local jurisdiction.

So far during 2014, 330 people have been reported missing in Missouri.

Most missing cases are cleared up within a few days or weeks when the person returns. It's the cases that remain for days, weeks, years and even decades that are those that are truly missing.

Since 1953, 915 people from Missouri have gone missing.

Among those are famous cases like Springfield's case of the Three Missing Women who just seem to have vanished.

And the 1971 Greene County case of Dixie Mae Forrester, whose ex-husband was arrested and released for her disappearance. He has since passed away and she has never been found.

And hundreds of others, each with their own story and their own mystery; 570 of them are adults, 345 children.

The male-female split is nearly 50/50; 478 missing females, 437 missing males.

And behind all these missing faces there is the person or the people looking, hoping and waiting for them.

"I mean, I missed his third birthday, but he turned three in April," says young mother Autumn Breci.

Breci's son, Beck Hotsenpiller, is on one of the missing posters.

"He just didn't show up and so I went looking for him so, I of course, went looking for him and called him non-stop," says Breci, recounting the day Beck's father didn't bring him home.

In the midst of a messy custody battle, Beck's father, Corey, left with the boy.

"They've completely, basically gone off the grid from the whole society, no one knows where they are," Breci says.

That includes the U.S. Marshal Service. But, the Marshal Service is charged with finding this fugitive, ostensibly, recovering the boy.

Deputy U.S. Marshall Darren Lane has the Hotsenpiller case.

"Corey Hotsenpiller has been charged as a fugitive in this case. He's been charged with parental kidnapping after he failed to return his son, Beck, to the custody of his mother," Lane says.

Unlike Beck's case, hundreds of these Missouri missing have no one actively looking for them. Though the Missouri State Highway Patrol serves as a centralized clearinghouse for these missing, each jurisdiction is responsible for their own cases.

"As the cases get older we don't close them, we don't suspend them once a case is assigned for follow up investigation a detective keeps that case until that person is found or that detective is reassigned for whatever reason it would go to another detective," says Springfield Police Department's Lt. Tad Peters.

But as time goes on, the trail goes cold.

"As they get older, they lean more and more to not just a missing person but the possibility of a homicide." says Peters.

A key difference for Breci; she knows her son will likely always be safe.

"I know they wouldn't put him in jeopardy, he's not in danger, but it's still a dangerous situation." Breci says

But, for now, Beck is here among the missing.

Breci says she hopes to see her son again.

"Yes. I mean, he's got a lot of people looking for him," she says. "So I know if it will happen I just don't know when it will happen." 

Hundreds of friends and family members search, hope and wait for Missouri's Missing.

"It's a very hard thing, I wish it to no one," says Breci.

If you have information about this case or any of Missouri's missing you can call the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 1-800-877-3452

If a child is involved you also call the National Center for Missing and Exploited children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

To report someone missing contact your local law enforcement agency.
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