Six months later, mystery of missing children remains unsolved — (The Kansas City Star)

Original article no longer available

The Kansas City Star

Associated Press

Dec 5, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Six months after two Independence children left for a weekend with their father, the children remain missing, the father remains in jail and frustrated family members are questioning the police’s handling of the case.

The father, Dan Porter, is in the Jackson County Jail on kidnapping charges and refuses to tell investigators what happened to Sam, then 7, and Lindsey, then 8, after he picked them up on June 5.

Family members say police missed several opportunities in the early stages of the investigation that could have garnered important clues. For example, Independence police didn’t issue an Amber Alert, waived assistance from the FBI, didn’t look at a computer in the Porter home for clues and didn’t ask Clinton County authorities to hold Porter after he was arrested on DUI charges only two days after he took the children.

“This whole thing is messed up,” said the children’s mother, Tina Porter, who was seeking a divorce when the children disappeared. The divorce was granted Nov. 2. “There was so much break down. They (police) thought they could crack Dan. But nobody can crack Dan if he doesn’t want to be cracked.”

Investigators in the case, however, defend their actions, saying they’re simply stymied by a baffling case.

“We did everything we possibly could to work this case in a timely manner,” said Independence Police Sgt. Dennis Green.

Green said the biggest obstacle is Dan Porter, who has told police a number of conflicting stories about what happened to Sam and Lindsey. That has left them to follow a number of unsuccessful leads, searching the woods in Grundy County, around La Benite Park in Sugar Creek and property in Independence where Dan Porter used to hunt.

“He’s indicated that they’re still alive and that basically, he’s in control of this,” Green said.

Green said police didn’t issue an Amber Alert because they lacked evidence that the children were in danger. He said that while Dan Porter had been convicted in the past of domestic assault and unlawful use of a weapon, he had never directed his violence at Sam and Lindsey.

Green acknowledged that FBI agents called offering their help – and family members said they asked for that help – but Green said officers turned it down because they didn’t feel a psychological profile of Dan Porter would aid the search.

Among the stories Dan Porter told police was that he had sold the youngsters to a ring of child pornographers. Family members said that should have led police to study the family computer for evidence, but Green said it was the family’s computer and Dan Porter never got more specific about the pornography ring.

The Missouri Highway Patrol arrested Porter on June 7 in Clinton County for driving under the influence of drugs, including a prescription anti-psychotic medication and an anti-depressant. Porter was released the following morning without any investigator talking to him about his missing children.

Green said his department didn’t ask Clinton County to hold Porter because there was no warrant for his arrest. He said no investigators went to talk to him in jail because he was arrested late at night, and investigators didn’t find out he was there until after he had made bail.

Dan Porter has been indicted on two counts of parental kidnapping, two counts of kidnapping with intent to terrorize and a federal charge for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Independence police say they still receive tips, but they have scaled the investigation back to a single detective.

Tina Porter said she has put up a Christmas tree and has the decorations ready for the children to help her put them up. But she also said she has begun to realize they may never come home.

In the meantime, she said she has visited her ex-husband in jail, but he hasn’t told her where the children are: “He keeps saying, ‘The kids are right there. Why can’t you find them?'”
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Bones confirmed as missing Mo. kids — (USA Today)

Posted 9/11/2007 6:44 PM

By Maria Sudekum Fisher, Associated Press Writer

SUGAR CREEK, Mo. — Human remains found in a shallow grave near the Missouri River are those of two missing children last seen when their father picked them up for a weekend visit in 2004, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

Dental records were used to confirm that the remains, found Sunday, were those of Sam and Lindsey Porter, said Tom Gentry, spokesman for the Independence police department.

The children were 7 and 8 years old when their father, Dan Porter, picked them up from his estranged wife for a weekend visit starting June 5, 2004.

Their whereabouts had been a mystery, as Dan Porter told several different stories about what happened to them, including that he had cut them up and that he had strangled them. He was convicted in 2006 of parental kidnapping with the intent to terrorize his ex-wife and sentenced to 38 years in prison.

“Once the bones were identified, there was relief to at least know there is an end to it, but it also touched our heartstrings and made us all very sad,” Gentry said.

 Gentry would not comment on what led police to the site or whether Dan Porter was involved in helping to find it.

“It’s been part of an ongoing investigation,” Gentry said. “Even though it has been more than three years, we have never stopped our investigation of this. Any thoughts about exactly how we got here, I cannot answer.”

Additional charges have not been filed against him since the bones were found, and Gentry said police plan to present their case to prosecutors soon.

On Monday, police took the children’s mother, Tina Porter, to the scene in a wooded, industrial area about 8 miles from Kansas City and near Sugar Creek. Calls to her home in Independence were unanswered Tuesday.

During a tour of the site with reporters, Maj. Gregg Wilkinson said he could not disclose how the children died or whether they died where they had been buried.

“I know, but I can’t say,” Wilkinson said.

The grave had been covered over and was no longer apparent. It was concealed “not as a deception, but out of respect” to the children, Wilkinson said.

Investigators looking for the children had searched there before, and Gentry has said Porter knew the area because he had hunted there.

It also is where Dan Porter and Tina Porter met on the day he took the children. Police said he asked Tina Porter to meet him near the area to exchange vehicles with him.

“We have had bloodhounds down there. We’ve had experienced trackers down there,” Sugar Creek Police Chief Herb Soule said Tuesday. “We’ve tried everything known to mankind. It’s such a dense area. There’s no way you could find anything in there, and there have been other bodies recovered down there over the years.”

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