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GOLDEN CITY, Mo. (AP) — Searchers found a body Wednesday outside of the southwest Missouri town where a 12-year-old girl disappeared two days earlier, but a positive identification could take up to 24 hours, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.
Adriaunna Horton, of Golden City, became the subject of a massive search after friends reported seeing her get into a vehicle at a park where they were playing Monday afternoon after their first day back at school. The driver, 34-year-old Bobby Bourne Jr., of Lamar, was alone when he was stopped about 90 minutes later and has since been charged with kidnapping.
Adriaunna’s father, James Horton, has said Bourne once worked for him and that their children played together.
Bourne was being held in the Barton County jail on $1 million bail. The county clerk’s office said a judge ordered all documents pertaining to the case to be sealed, including those that might show if Bourne had a lawyer. The Associated Press couldn’t locate a listed phone number for Bourne.
Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Watson declined to say precisely where the body was found or describe its condition. He said the search-and-rescue mission had been suspended but that investigators were still in the field looking for evidence and clues.
“They’re at different places now and will continue to follow up on leads,” Watson said Wednesday evening.
DNA testing may be necessary to make a positive identification, Watson said. He said Barton County’s prosecutor would decide whether to file any additional charges against Bourne.
More than a dozen law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers searched Golden City and the surrounding countryside for Adriaunna. Watson said the community’s outpouring of support reflected its spirit.
“Beyond the town, it’s a close-knit county,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday — before the body was discovered — relatives expressed optimism that Adriaunna would be found safe.
Her grandfather, who is also named James Horton, described Adriaunna as a lively, active child.
“She can run like a rabbit, and she’s double-jointed, and she’s smart, knows how to use a phone, and if she gets a chance, she’s gone,” the grandfather said.
Adriaunna’s mother, Wendi Jackson of Overland Park, Kan., was in Golden City to be with relatives during the search.
Golden City is a town of about 760 residents northwest of Springfield.