When I was pregnant with my daughter in 1993, Saint Louis was making National News Headlines when two little girls disappeared within days of each other. Angie Marie Housman, age 9, and Cassidy Senter, age 10, both lived in the Saint Louis area. First Angie disappeared, from her bus stop as she walked home from school. Then Cassidy vanished as she walked to a friend’s house after school. The search was on to find two missing children.
Angie Housman got off her school bus in St. Ann Missouri after a typical day in fourth grade. She usually walked home from her bus stop, which was nine houses from where she steps off the bus. Yet on November 18, 1993, Angie never made it home. She simply vanished and no one saw anything. Nine days later, hunters, found Angie’s body tied to a tree in a local wildlife preserve. She died slowly of exposure in the cold November woods over several days and nights. Before left in the Wild life preserve, Angie was sexually tortured for close to a week. Her clothes placed on top of her school backpack nearby. Police have DNA evidence from Angie's killer, yet Angie's killer remains unidentified.
Cassidy Senter was walking to a friend’s home after school. She never arrived there. Her personal safety alarm was blaring in the mud at the end of a driveway. On December 9, 1993, 911 received a call for a body found in a St. Louis Alley wrapped in a bedspread. Her killer, Thomas Brooks, had tried to rape her and she bravely fought him off. In his anger, he bludgeoned her to death with a piece of wood and then hid her body under a waterbed for several days. Eventually, Brooks convicted of murdering Cassidy Senter, went sent to prison where he died.
Why then did these two beautiful girls move permanently into my heart in 1993? As long as I can remember, even as a child I have always found myself remembering and reflecting on cases of missing and murdered children long after many people have forgotten them. They find their way into my heart and etch themselves inside like a tattoo. When I would put up posters at work or mention a missing child in passing, often co-workers, friends, or families, would ask, “Why do you insist on thinking about that stuff? I also hear people say “I try not to watch those kinds of stories because they are too sad.” Yeah, they are too sad; In fact, those kinds of stories are the worst of the worst. Sigh.
I remember their faces, and their stories even years later. I cry as I listen to the news of yet another innocent life found, dead. I wonder about the Jane Does. How can a nameless, faceless child go unwanted, unloved for days, months, even years? Who gave life to that child? Somewhere a mother carried that child inside her body for nine months. How that mother not wonders what happened to her precious child? How can she not want to know where he or she is right now? What saddens me the most are the children who died alone, and remain unidentified and unclaimed? Every child deserves to have a name, a place to rest, and his or her loved one knowing the final resting place.
As a mother I know I would never stop looking form my child until I found my child, one-way or another. If your child is missing, never give up hope that one day he or she will come home alive. The Missouri miracle proves that missing children do come home, even after almost five years! Thanks to some special people. If I can help one child go home, then I will not have failed my lifetime.
An observant young man, Mitchell Hults, identified the white truck to police. Mitchell is a friend of the missing Missouri youth, Ben Ownby. An incredibly astute Sheriff, Gary Toelke, who listens to his gut instinct (not what others tell him to do) and released the information about the white truck that Mitchell Hults described. The white truck is what broke the case open and lead to finding Ben Ownby. When the police found Ben, they found Shawn, and that lead to Shawn Hornbeck returning to his family.
Finally, I need to say that it is because of Angie and Cassidy two beautiful angels, that I am committed to helping Missing and Exploited Children. Those two little girls gave me the strength and courage to apply for this website. I have thought about Angie and Cassidy everyday since my daughter was born in December of 1993.
If anyone knows anything about the killing of Angie Marie Housman of Saint Louis, please contact the Saint Louis Major Case Squad or your local authorities. Angie deserves justice. Please
Let us get her sadistic killer off the street.