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National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

State-to-State Unsolved Crimes: This site seeks help from the public to solve violent crimes, to bring victims home or at least give closure for loved ones. Check on the status of unsolved cases or give information to get a case listed.

Missing NH Children's Bodies May Have Been Found

July 16, 2003 -- A father of two, once in a heated custody battle with his ex-wife, is in custody of police. Manuel Gehring is suspected of killing his children, aged 14 and 11. His daughter, Sarah, and her younger brother, Philip, had been on a 4th of July visitation in Concord, New Hampshire with their father when they were last seen, but when Manuel Gehring, 44, was arrested in California last Thursday, his children were not with him.

Sadly, the two-week-long nationwide search for the missing children, presumed dead, may be over. Officials have not confirmed, but their bodies may have been found in the Midwest, according to Capital News 9. There is some speculation that the authorities flew Gehring to the Midwest to help search for the bodies. His defense is concerned that he has been in custody for two days, taken out of town by police without benefit of counsel.

Authorities were able to trace Gehring's 3,200-mile cross-country trip from New Hampshire to California through credit card transactions, but had no way of knowing where the children were. They were last seen with their father at a fireworks display in Concord on July 4. Witnesses spotted Gehring arguing with his daughter as they left the fireworks display, and the children were crying as they drove off. The case is now considered a double homicide. Gehring's trip ended with his arrest in a Gilroy, California, hotel room on Thursday -- nearly a week later.

Gehring was embroiled in a custody dispute with his ex-wife over the children. Authorities began the search for the three of them in what was initially described as a missing persons case after he failed to return the children to his ex-wife as expected.

The FBI received a tip on Sunday, and police unsuccessfully searched for the children's bodies in Toledo, Ohio. Investigators used a helicopter to scour a 20- to 30-square-mile area near Toledo along the route the children's father took. The FBI and the Ohio State Highway Patrol searched parks and open spaces in the Toledo area by air and on foot for seven hours but failed to find the children, dead or alive

Authorities don't believe the children were killed in New Hampshire. Authorities have been searching for the children and for clues to what happened to them along Interstate 80 in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Police tracked his route westward through credit card charges, which showed stops on July 5 in Newburgh, NY, and Emlenton, PA; July 6 in Joliet, Illinois, and Iowa City, Iowa; July 7 in Greenwood, Nebraska; July 8 in Winnemucca and Sparks, Nevada; July 9 in Rocklin, North Highlands, and San Francisco, California; ending up on July 11 in Gilroy.

Investigators would not initially say what was found in Gehring's green Pontiac van found at the Gilroy hotel, or what led them to northwest Ohio. The Boston Globe is quoting a law enforcement source as saying a gun, a shovel and other digging tools were found in the van in California after Gehring was arrested. Authorities have said only that the father is the only suspect in the case. He is accused of being a fugitive from justice and interfering with child custody, but arraignment has been postponed.

Secrecy is now surrounding the case. New Hampshire law enforcement officials canceled a news conference planned for yesterday afternoon. Authorities in New Hampshire and California declined to say why they believed the children had been killed, or if Gehring, an accountant who was laid off from his job last month, had confessed. The arrest of the father, described by neighbors as a devoted and caring parent, shocked many friends and neighbors. -- Edited and excerpted from articles written by John McElhenny and Eddy Ramirez in the Boston GlobeWNDU.tvCapital News 9AP/5 Eyewitness News, and by Farah Stockman and Eddy Ramirez of the Boston Globe

Police Use the Press: "Mind Games" in Hunt for US Ex-Marine and British Schoolgirl

British police question Marine arrested in Germany

July 17, 2003 -- Police carrying out an international manhunt for a former US marine who vanished with a 12-year-old British girl used "mind games" devised by experts to secure her safe return home. Toby Studabaker was arrested in the German city of Frankfurt Wednesday after disappearing with Shevaun Pennington, a case that sparked huge media attention.

The schoolgirl's parents said she had told them she wasn't being held against her will. Pennington was safely returned to her parents in Manchester, northwest England, five days after running away to Paris with Studabaker, 31. They met over the Internet.

Police paid close attention to advice from psychologists who warned them that Shevaun was in love with the man she had spent hours conversing with every day via her computer, and designed a series of appeals used by the press. After consulting FBI psychologists as well as their own criminal profilers, Greater Manchester police had privately asked the media not to disclose the pedophile allegations against Studabaker, which they feared could alarm or endanger Shevaun. Detectives had been aiming to reassure Studabaker that his best option was to let Shevaun go home.

Anxious not to antagonise Studabaker, detectives asked the press not to reveal FBI evidence that, contrary to the claims of his relatives, the ex-marine was fully aware Shevaun was only 12 during a year-long internet realtionship. The media were also asked not to publish details of a police investigation into Studabakers alleged sexual assault of his 12-year-old niece and a complaint that he gave a nine-year-old girl some "sex lotion" five years ago. Studabaker's arrest came after police sources revealed that child pornography had been downloaded from the Internet onto a computer used by the former soldier.

After parting from her in Stuttgart, the former marine, who served in Afghanistan, did not resist arrest as police vans blocked off escape routes near the US consulate in Frankfurt. Greater Manchester police had sent two officers to Germany to apply to the German courts for Studabaker's extradition to Britain. Prosecutors said there was no sign Studabaker committed sex crimes with the girl, but he will face abduction charges. -- Edited and excerpted from articles at MSNBC,  SpaceWar, and Reuters

Twins Kept Older Brother Locked In Attic For 40 Years

Twins who allegedly kept their older brother locked in an attic for 40 years so they could claim his pension have been arrested by Italian police. -- Criminal Minds archive, last article

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