HILLSBORO, Mo. - A group of professionally trained volunteers and canines will search the land surrounding the Hillsboro Civic Center in Jefferson County this Sunday, May 19, for any sign of Amanda Jones. It is the last place Jones was seen before she disappeared on August 14, 2005.
Jones was days away from giving birth to her second child, a son she planned to name Hayden. She arrived at the civic center around 1 p.m. that day to meet the man she believed to be the father of her unborn child. She has not been seen or heard from since.
Marshia Morton is a volunteer with Community United Effort, also known as the CUE Center for Missing Persons. It is a non-profit organization based in North Carolina that helps to search for missing people across the country.
"It's long overdue," said Bertha Propst, Jones' mother. "It's going to be 14 years this August. This is something that really should've been done from the very beginning."
Jones' family is frustrated with the way their daughter's case has been handled by local law enforcement. However, she said she is grateful for the dozens of volunteers and search dogs who will search for her daughter this weekend, some traveling from out of state.
"We will have retired law enforcement, we will have retired firefighters, active firefighters, and a lot of searchers with canines," said Morton.
Morton said the group will focus their search efforts on the densely wooded areas on the civic center grounds that are challenging to get to.
Jones' family wonders what, if anything, the search crews might be able to find all these years later. According to Morton, the search dogs are able to pick up trace remains years after a person is gone.
"Some of our dogs have been asked to assist on historic-type graves, 600 to 700 years old," Morton said.
Morton hopes someone will come forward and lead the team to where they can find Jones.
"People out there know," said Hugh Propst, Jones' father. "We've said this time and time again, there's people out there who know the truth, and for some reason, they're afraid to tell. It makes me sick."
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will have a crime scene detective attend Sunday’s search to secure any evidence that may be found.
A spokesperson issued the following statement about this case Thursday evening:
"The Amanda Jones case is an open missing person investigation. It's one we would love nothing more than to solve.
We investigate every lead that's brought to our attention and should this weekend's search uncover new evidence, we will certainly treat it seriously."
The public is invited to participate in a butterfly release at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. The search will follow.
For more information on the disappearance of Amanda Jones, check out the Fox 2 podcast here: https://fox2now.com/2019/05/02/new-podcast-the-disappearance-of-amanda-jones/