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Friday, December 22, 2006

The power of Twain.

Southeast Missourian: Missing Amish boys found safe after overnight adventure to reach river
Bowling Green, Missouri - Two 12-year-old Amish boys who may have set out on an adventure, perhaps inspired by Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, were found late Wednesday afternoon after being missing overnight, authorities said.

The boys, who had walked an estimated 15 miles in an effort to get to the Mississippi River, were found by an area resident who had heard they were missing and found them passing through a field. She brought them to the sheriff's office, said Pike County Sheriff Jim Wells said.

"They just wanted to hike over to the Mississippi and they wanted to get home," he said. "They talked about this adventure. I think it was just a little mission they were on."

The boys were still an estimated 15 miles away from the river when they were found.

The discovery of the boys was welcome news after about 200 searchers -- evenly split between Amish and others in the area -- fanned out through the thick woods of rural Pike County in northeast Missouri.

Authorities did not release their names, but relatives identified the boys as William Girod and Jacob Wagler.

Wells said the boys were in school when they were sent to throw out garbage near a creek at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. They didn't return to class.

A member of the Amish community saw the boys about 3 p.m. Tuesday in a wooded area walking north about four miles from the school, but didn't know they were missing. They were spotted with walking sticks and a backpack. The boys were reported missing at 5 p.m.

"One of the young men has been reading a lot of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn books," Wells said, referring to Mark Twain's famous characters based on the people he knew growing up in Hannibal, 30 miles north of Bowling Green.

During their adventure, the boys spent the night in a barn. They had sandwiches with them but were hungry when they were found. Authorities gave them milk and cookies, and they were reunited with their parents.

"William is an adventurous guy. He loves stories about Huckleberry Finn and all of that," said his aunt, Katie Girod. "It's kind of rainy to be out there. I don't think they fully realized how cold it would be."

Overnight temperatures hovered around the freezing mark. Rain fell most of the morning.

Samuel Girod, the 40-year-old father of one of the boys, said efforts to find the boys began as soon as families realized they were missing.

The Missouri Department of Corrections, which operates a prison at Bowling Green, provided dogs for the search. The Missouri State Highway Patrol loaned a helicopter to the effort.

Wells said the parents are glad to have their children home.

"It'll make a merry Christmas," he said.

Ed Lawson, who provides educational tours of Pike County's Amish community, said there are about 85 Amish families living outside of Bowling Green, a town of about 3,000 residents 75 miles north of St. Louis.

According to the Pike County Genealogical Society Web site, the Pike County Amish are considered "Old Order Amish." Deeply religious, the Amish use no electricity, no phones, and get around in horse-led buggies rather than cars.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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