Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Photo Seeks News of Boy, 13 Youth Has Been Missing since 1991; `Someone's Got to Know Something"

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Photo Seeks News of Boy, 13 Youth Has Been Missing since 1991; `Someone's Got to Know Something"

Article excerpt

Deborah Henderson hopes a new photograph of her missing son - Charles Arlin Leon Henderson - will furnish a glimpse into the present and show the boy as he looks at 13.

Henderson hasn't seen her son since he hopped on his bicycle and rode off into a normal July afternoon when he was 11. Since that day, July 25, 1991, Henderson's life has been anything but normal. She continues to search for her son and says she can't give up. She won't even move away from the Fountain 'N Lake trailer park near the tiny rural community of Ethlyn, near Moscow Mills in Lincoln County.

"What would he do if he came home and I wasn't here?" she asks.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has released a new photograph of Arlin in the midst of the publicity about two girls abducted from north St. Louis County and later found murdered. Those news stories have sensitized people to the plight of missing children, and parents of other missing children grasp at the slim thread that ties them together.

Henderson said the grandmother of Angie Housman, one of the slain girls, had telephoned to talk to her, but Henderson was at work and missed the call. Henderson said she regretted that. She said, "I prayed so hard for both of them to be found alive. It would've made me feel so much better to know just one child would get to come home."

The center produced the new photograph by taking Arlin's last school picture, the one distributed on posters throughout the country, and "aging" his face so that people might have a better chance of recognizing him. The change is barely discernible to a casual observer. But Henderson said, "I can tell a difference. I'm the mother."

The way the center ages photos of missing children is to gather other family members' photographs taken at the age that the missing child would be now. From those, the center determines how the child could be expected to look now. In Arlin's case, the Henderson family album of photos is slim. Henderson said, "A lot of mine got torn up. I've moved so much and lost so much. I put a lot of stuff in my shed after my husband died, and people broke in and took a lot of stuff. …

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