Missing Children Return To Topeka Home
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A woman who was reunited with her two daughters more than two years after they disappeared, says parents of missing children should not give up.
″Try to stick together with family and every day sit down and think of different things about the child,″ Patricia ″Sissy″ Hester said Monday night after she and her two daughters returned to find their Topeka home filled with family and friends.
″Put heads together and you’ll be able to come up with new information,″ she said. ″Never give up, never give up. I didn’t.″
A banner on the house welcomed home Brandy Penry, 9, and Misty Penry, 6, who were reunited with their mother last week after a sixth-grade student in Little Rock, Ark., recognized one of the girls from some material on missing children.
Richard and Diane Hansen, who authorities say took the children from a Topeka pizza parlor in December 1983, were arrested last week on charges of aggravated interference with parental custody. An extradition hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.
Mrs. Hansen said last week that she and her husband frequently baby-sat for the girls in Topeka, and moved to Arkansas upon taking them from the pizza parlor. The Hansens allegedly told investigators that they believed they were doing a good thing by taking the children.
Custody of the children was given to Mrs. Hester on Monday by a juvenile judge in Little Rock, who urged the family, including Mrs. Hester’s estranged husband and the girls’ younger brother, to undergo couseling.
″We’re going to get some family counseling because the girls are confused,″ Mrs. Hester said after returning to Topeka. ″We’re going to get the counseling so we can get things back together.″
The girls giggled and ran through the house after returning to Topeka about 7 p.m., telling family members and friends that they were glad to be back. Mrs. Hester drove from Topeka to Little Rock last week after she learned the two girls had been found. They were reunited Thursday.
Angela Thornton, 12, took a picture of a missing child that looked like Brandy to her teachers. She said she wanted the girls to ″get their parents back.″
In school, the child was using the name Nicole Bailey. After authorities learned the girls’ identities, Brandy and Misty were placed in the custody of the Social Services Division in Arkansas.