Charles Arlin Leon Henderson

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Top Two Rows and Bottom Left and Center: Charles, circa 1991;
Bottom Right: Age-progression at age 33 (circa 2013)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: July 25, 1991 from Moscow Mills, Missouri
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: March 16, 1980
  • Age: 11 years old
  • Height and Weight: 4'5, 70 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, blue eyes. Charles had a crewcut at the time of his disappearance. He has a scar on his thigh and a gap between his teeth. He goes by one of his middle names, Arlin, and many accounts refer to him as Arlin Henderson.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A camouflage-print t-shirt, camouflage-print pants with a tear in one knee, gray socks with red stripes, and black sneakers.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Charles was riding his white and yellow bicycle in his family's Moscow Mills, Missouri mobile home, about fifty miles north of St. Louis, on July 25, 1991. He was last seen between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. the day he vanished. Charles has never been heard from again.

    Josh Spangler confessed to Charles's murder in 2001, ten years after the child disappeared. Spangler was 13 years old at the time of the alleged killing. He could not have served prison time for his role in the alleged crime because of his age. Spangler was apparently involved in drug activity in 1991 and was associated with George N. Gibson and his older brother, Charles "Chuckie" Gibson. Charles is currently imprisoned on federal drug and money laundering charges. Both of the Gibson brothers were initially charged in connection with Charles's case in the spring of 2001. Spangler told investigators that a member of Charles's family owed money to Charles Gibson, and Spangler was paid $10,000 to kill Charles as a warning. Spangler said that he sold drugs for the Gibson brothers in 1991.

    Spangler stated that he was riding in a truck with George on July 25, 1991, the day Charles vanished, and that they abducted him and held him in a house in Davis, Missouri for a few days. Spangler claimed he shot Charles in the head with a nine-millimeter pistol in a creek bed near Davis on July 28, 1991, three days after the boy was abducted, and buried the body along the Mississippi River.

    Investigators searched a site near Winfield, Missouri in late July and early August 2001 for Charles's remains. Nothing was located. Authorities withdrew charges against both of the Gibsons in October 2001 after learning that Spangler lied regarding their involvement in the crime. Citing numerous discrepancies in Spangler's account, they charged him with perjury in connection with his testimony about Charles's supposed death. Spangler plead guilty to perjury and was sentenced to seven years in prison. At the time of his plea, he was serving a four-year prison sentence for unrelated charges of burglary and tampering. Authorities now believe Spangler had nothing to do with Charles's disappearance. They say Spangler made up the story as a malicious joke to make the police look incompetent.

    Authorities have not cast aside the theory that Charles's disappearance may have been drug-related, but Charles's mother denies allegations that she or any of her family members were involved with drugs. Charles's mother describes him as a fun-loving boy who enjoyed telling stories, swimming, diving and bike riding. His favorite school subjects in 1991 were social studies and science. He lived with his mother at the time of his disappearance; his father died of emphysema in 1990. Charles's sister was murdered ten years after his disappearance, but the crime was not related to his case; his sister was killed by her estranged husband, who subsequently committed suicide. Charles's mother still lives in the same trailer park where her son used to live, but in a different mobile home. Her husband's name is still listed in the phone book in case Charles decides to call home.

    In 2007, investigators began investigating Michael J. Devlin for possible involvement in Charles's disappearance and in several other cases, including the 1988 disappearance of Scott Kleeschulte and the 2005 disappearance of Bianca Piper. Shawn Hornbeck, a fifteen-year-old boy who disappeared at age eleven in 2002, and William "Ben" Ownby, a thirteen-year-old boy who was abducted in 2007, were both found alive and well in Devlin's house in January 2007. Ownby had been missing for five days and Hornbeck for over four years. Both boys had been held against their will by Devlin, who subequently pleaded guilty to kidnapping and child molestation and was sentenced to life in prison. Authorities initially suspected Devlin could be linked to other missing child cases, and formed a multi-jurisdictional task force to investigate this theory. In October 2007 the task force dissolved, as it could not find any evidence that Devlin was involved with children other than Hornbeck and Ownby.

    Charles's bicycle was found in a bean field three months after his disappearance and was taken by the police as evidence. Investigators hope to identify a set of fingerprints discovered on its frame. A photo of the bicycle is posted below this case summary. Charles's disappearance remains unsolved.

    Bicycle
    Above: Henderson's biycle

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Lincoln County Sheriff's Office
    314-528-8546

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    Source Information
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    Operation Lookout
    KMOV-TV 4
    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    The Associated Press
    Kids Foundation
    The Hannibal Courier-Post
    KSDK NewsChannel 5
    The Missourian
    KindraLore
    Friends of Arlin Henderson
    MySpace Page for Charles "Arlin" Henderson
    90.7 KMWU

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    Updated 10 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated November 3, 2013; age-progression updated.

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