It was 27 days ago on June 28 that 43-year-old Robert Peters disappeared from a camping area on Castor River in Wayne County. Authorities, it appears, are no closer to finding him than they were on the Sunday morning he went missing.
The Wayne County Sheriff's Department remains the primary agency involved with the search for Peters, with several other agencies having been involved in the hunt. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, along with Bollinger County authorities and the Glen Allen crew of volunteer firefighters have all been involved in trying to locate the Dexter native, whose wife, Vicky, and two daughters are attempting to carry on with their lives, having no idea what has happened to their husband and father.
A prayer vigil was held at Dexter's First United Methodist Church Wednesday evening where about 30 friends and family members gathered while Rev. Louie Lowe led a solemn plea for the family to receive some word on Peters' whereabouts and still with hope for his safe return.
What glimmer of hope authorities had for finding Peters safe diminishes with each day that passes and although Wayne County remains on the case, they admit they simply do not have the manpower to keep actively searching the rural area on a daily basis. Both agencies report that they continue to follow up, however, on any leads that come their way.
While family members have requested that the FBI become involved in the case, a conversation with Public Affairs Specialist Rebecca Wu at the St. Louis office of the FBI revealed that it is unlikely that their office would step in on the Peters search.
"No one has asked for us to step in on this investigation," Wu explained, "but typically the FBI does not enter a case unless there is evidence of a federal crime or if there is an issue of tender years (a young child)."
Wu went on to explain, "In the case of a crime scene, the FBI is often called in to offer forensic expertise."
There is no evidence of a crime scene involving the disappearance of Robert Peters. Peters is a diabetic and was wearing an insulin pump at the time of his disappearance which is capable of supplying only a few days of medication. According to Vicky Peters, her husband was carrying about $50 cash the last time he was seen in the early morning hours of June 28 at Hidden Valley Campgrounds in Wayne County.
Sen. Rob Mayer of Dexter, having been informed of the stall in officials actively searching for Peters, contacted Wayne County authorities this week and was told the sheriff's department there had exhausted their measures in the search effort.
"They spent several days in the woods and along the river, but they simply do not have the resources available to keep searching," Mayer said. "A large area surrounding the camping area where Robert Peters disappeared has been combed a minimum of four times by deputies and a large contingent of volunteers. They have utilized a patrol helicopter and canine units, but their resources are limited and they simply had to pull back."
Anyone with information regarding Peters' disappearance is asked to contact either the Wayne County Sheriff's Department at 573-224-3219 or Bollinger County Sheriff's Department at 573-238-2633.