||Father Kidnaps Two Children
Paragraph 11 reads: "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."
Six months later, mystery of missing children remains unsolvedAssociated Press
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?'"