LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. – Residents in Foley, Missouri, lit up social media last week with posts about police investigators searching an area near where Bianca Piper disappeared in 2005.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” you could hear one of the residents say as she recorded video driving by the scene Friday.
“Look, they’ve got the crime scene tape up now,” the person said as she drove past the field filled with investigators.
Social media posts suggested the police found something. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said it’s not that simple.
“It’s human nature. I don’t begrudge anyone for doing it, but it does make it hard, because then people get spun up and worked up about stuff that’s just not factual,” said Captain Dave Hill, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Eighteen years ago, Piper’s mother, Shannon, said she last saw her 13-year-old daughter walking down McIntosh Hill Road near Highway Y. Mom said she dropped off her daughter down the road from home to cool off as they’d commonly done to deal with Bianca’s bipolar disorder.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children generated an aged progression photo of Bianca, who would now be 31-years-old.
Capt. Hill said they’re going back to make sure they’ve covered every angle, even if it’s something earlier investigators previously tackled.
“We did search the septic (tank), but the reason we did it was because it was a box we couldn’t check off,” he said. “We couldn’t find where it had been done, so we decided to do it.”
Shannon told FOX 2 she’s thrilled that Sherriff Rick Harrell is putting new effort into Bianca’s case.
“It’s long past time for our family to know what happened to Bianca,” she said.
Another recent search involved Arlin Henderson, last seen when he was 11, riding his bike in Moscow Mills in July 1991. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a couple years ago, released a photo of what he could look like today. He would be 42.
“We brought out specialized canines and we went, and we searched that area as well, so it’s all kind of the routine of going through cold cases,” Hill said. “You retrace steps to see where it leads you.”
Two other cases involve murder victims not yet identified, including a woman’s body found in March 1978 near the Mississippi River with little to go on, except a tattoo with the name “Dee” on her left forearm.
Another case involves an unknown man found in 1984, shot execution style in a pump house in near Highway F. He was wearing a Bill Blass grey suit with red pinstripes and a Bill Blass black cashmere pea coat.
“Clearly, somebody who had some money, and he wasn’t robbed,” Hill said. “He was just left murdered. Shot in the back of the head.”
The sheriff’s office believes its work is paying off. While there’s nothing to report yet, investigators say they are generating important clues.
“Everybody deserves closure,” Hill said. “Justice doesn’t just go away.”