On August 19, 2013 in Golden City, Missouri, 12-year-old Adriaunna Horton was playing at Hazel Park―a park she visits daily with her sisters and friends―before she stepped into a pickup truck and wouldn’t be found for several days.
Horton’s friends began looking for her, but it didn’t take long before the kids contacted her father and then the police. One of the kids said they saw her getting into a truck.
The pickup truck was found an hour and a half later and a suspect was in custody. The suspect was a family acquaintance, Bobby Bourne. Bourne and Horton’s father, James Horton, briefly worked together on a construction job.
However, Horton was nowhere to be found.
“It’s not like it was when you and I grew up, we have people come in all the time we don’t know who they are or where they’re from, and what upsets me most is she knew this fellow. She played with this guy’s kids,” said Velma Horton, Adriaunna’s grandmother. “It’s unreal. I feel for people when this happens because I’ve been fortunate it hasn’t happened to me but now it has happened to me.”
Search crews began using canines, horses, ATVs, and even a helicopter.
By day two, about 250 volunteers showed up as well as about 500 law enforcement, Fire, and Search and Rescue workers fanned out searching along the creek in Golden City.
Later that night Bobby Bourne would be behind bars in the Barton County Jail charged with kidnapping and a one million dollar bond.
“We really do appreciate them helping and everyone coming from where they have to look for her and law enforcement, we appreciate what they’re doing we can’t thank them enough. There is people out here I don’t know,” said Cliff Horton, Adriaunna’s uncle.
“It’s a small town. That’s what we do. We help each other but yeah, if it was my granddaughter, I would sure want everyone out here.” said Tom Combs a Golden City resident.
At 1:50 p.m., officers discovered a body buried in a rural area outside of Golden City. It would take another 24 hours to confirm the identity of the body, it was Adriaunna Horton.
The community came together in support of Horton’s family at her memorial service. In a town of nearly 800 people, roughly 700 packed inside the Golden City High School gym. A horse-drawn carriage took her casket to the cemetery where she was laid to rest.
Bourne claimed he took the girl to an abandoned residence to question her about the location of her father, James.
Bourne claimed that Horton ran away from him, fell down, and died as a result of falling.
He led investigators to a wooded area southeast of Golden City where he said Horton’s body would be located.
When her body was found, investigators observed that she was sexually assaulted.
The autopsy would show Horton was strangled to death.
Bobby Bourne was already facing a kidnapping charge. He was now charged with first-degree murder, first-degree statutory rape, forcible rape and child kidnapping.
During his arraignment, Bourne did not enter a plea.
Bourne was not a man without a criminal history. In fact, he was reportedly on probation for five years for crimes he committed two years prior to the murder case of Horton.
A judge sentenced Bourne to five years probation for the charges of second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and three counts of domestic assault against his then-wife.
She filed for divorce in lieu of the charges involving Horton.
Because Bourne was charged with a crime during probation, he was already facing 15 years in prison prior to the Horton case.
Barry County prosecutors would eventually drop the forcible rape charge.
Leading up to the trial, Bourne pleaded not guilty and requested the trial to take place in Buchanan County.
According to an article by The Joplin Globe, The ex-wife of Bourne testified that he was abusing drugs, hearing voices and going without sleep in the three days preceding Horton’s abduction and slaying.
A motive has never been publicly stated, but a prosecutor briefly mentioned the state’s theory that Bourne did it to get revenge after his wife and the girl’s father had an affair. The alleged affair occurred while Bourne was in jail.
The Horton family, frustrated by how long the process of beginning the trial took, began petitioning for something called “Adriaunna’s Law”. The petitions were meant to create or better enforce laws that demand harsher punishments for child abusers as well as measures that will better protect child abuse victims.
On July 13, 2018, five years after Horton was abducted and killed, Bobby Bourne pleaded guilty.