FOLEY, Mo. – An Ohio man’s false claim to be a missing boy from Illinois opened up wounds for parents of missing children from around the country, including here in St. Louis.
“Nobody else can understand. Even your own family members can go through periods when they’re not as understanding, but only someone who is missing or lost a child can understand,” says Shannon Tanner.
For 14 years, Tanner has wondered what happened to her daughter. On March 10, 2005, 13-year-old Bianca Piper went for a walk; she was bipolar and started using that as a way to calm down.
“I dropped her off and told her I’d see her in a few minutes. I went home and started cooking dinner and then in 10 or 15 minutes when she hadn’t returned we went looking for her and she was gone without a trace,” she says.
She was last seen in a rural area of Foley, Missouri. She’d now be 27.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children made a photo of what they think she may look like today.
Investigators are taking a new approach to the case.
“Lincoln County has hired a new detective to work full-time, as far as I’m aware, on Bianca’s case. He started about Christmas time and I am amazed at the work that he’s done so far,” says Tanner.
She encourages everyone to be on the lookout. If you see someone that looks like an individual in a missing person’s photo or if they appear to be in a situation where they may need help, don’t hesitate to call the police.
“So, what if you’re wrong but what if you’re right? Take that chance because all of the children that are out there missing deserve to be found,” she says. “I go back to Shawn Hornbeck. When he was missing there were people that thought he looked like the pictures they’d seen but they were afraid to get involved and, look, it was him. He could’ve been home a lot sooner with his family had somebody said something a little sooner.”
Tanner says she still hears from people who’ve seen Bianca’s photo posted around town and that makes her hopeful because that means people are looking. If you think you’ve seen her, contact the police.