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Search for Scott Kleeschulte

in this June 19888 photo, Jeff Broeker, 12, a friend of Scott Kleeschulte, helps members of the St. Charles Police Dept. TACT team search for Kleeschulte in one of the boys' favorite hiding places, a culvert near Elm Point Road in St. Charles County.


Editor's note: Scott Kleeschulte was 9 when he disappeared on June 8, 1988. He's never been found. This was the first article the Post-Dispatch reported on the missing boy, two days after he last was seen.

About 40 civilian volunteers and off-duty police officers fanned out across a wooded hillside in St. Charles County as a search for a missing 9-year-old boy intensified Thursday.

The boy, Scott A. Kleeschulte, has been missing since before a storm late Wednesday afternoon. Scott's parents are Richard and Peggy Kleeschulte of the 3300 block of Leverenz Sreet, in St. Charles.

Richard Kleeschulte said another son had seen Scott near the family home about 4:30 p.m.

Neighbors who had volunteered for the search were told to go home at dusk Thursday, but to be prepared to resume the search at 7 a.m. today.

A small group of St. Charles policemen spent most of the night checking drainage ditches and other places that might have been missed by the volunteers.

Members of the St. Charles Police Department's special TACT team worked Wednesday night and all day Thursday searching the woods where Scott was known to play, creek beds and the Norfolk & Western Railroad tracks at the northwestern edge of St. Charles. They also searched door-to-door in the neighborhoods near his home, said Lt. James Turpiano.

About 25 police officers plus several students at the St. Charles County Police Academy searched an area of about 20 acres. In addition, three officers searched on all-terrain vehicles, and one officer rode his horse. Helicopters from St. Louis County Police Department and a television station aided the search.

A helicopter with infra-red equipment capable of detecting heat from a person's body was deployed just after midnight, police said. The FBI also has volunteered a small, single-engine plane.

Officer Bob Henrich said that some of Scott's friends led searchers to at least a half-dozen caves where the boy was known to play. The caves were dug out by neighborhood children and some of the walls were in danger of collapsing, he said.

Scott, who recently completed first grade at Coverdell Elementary School, was described as about 4 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 60 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black T shirt, khaki pants and red-and-black high-top tennis shoes.

Richard Kleeschulte said his son had never been gone for more than a few hours. When he was gone, he usually would call and let his family know where he was.

''You hear about this sort of stuff happening, but you never think it'll happen to you,"  Kleeschulte said, his voice breaking. ''I just keep hoping I'll look up and see him coming down the street.''