Scott Kleeschulte was just nine years old when he vanished from St. Charles, MO in June of 1988. He disappeared on the last day of school, having completed first grade. After riding the bus home, Scott went in search of outdoor adventures, something he regularly did.
The day of his disappearance, a very large thunderstorm rolled through the area. Since storms frightened Scott, his parents assumed he’d ridden this one out at a friend’s house. He was last seen just after the storm ended, between 4:30 and 5 PM, walking down a road in his neighborhood.
Scott’s parents knew almost immediately after arriving home from work that something was wrong. They had plans for the evening – Scott needed a new pair of tennis shoes – and they were going to take the family to dinner, in celebration of the last day of school. Everyone felt certain that he would not have stayed outside long into the evening. Not willingly, anyway.
Initially, investigators were concerned he may have been swept away by flash flooding in the area after the thunderstorm. After searching rivers, creeks, caves and tunnels, this theory was quickly discounted. Both Scott’s family and law enforcement have believed since very early on that Scott was abducted.
Dogs were able to track Scott’s scent along a road near where where he vanished, but the trail grew cold.
Many have wondered if Scott Kleeschulte’s disappearance is related to the disappearance of Arlin Henderson. Arlin vanished in July of 1991, three years after Scott, in Moscow Mills, a town roughly 30 miles from St. Charles, MO. The boys are similar in appearance, though at 11 years old, Arlin was two years older than Scott was when he went missing. Another eerie similarity is that Arlin, like Scott, was never found.
The case grew cold, but briefly made headlines in 2007, when news broke of the rescue of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby. Abducted by Michael Devlin of Kirkwood, MO, both boys were found alive and in good physical condition in Devlin’s apartment. Many believed these were not Devlin’s first victims, and as a result, he was carefully investigated for any possible connection to Scott Kleeschulte, Arlin Henderson, Bianca Piper and others. Nothing was found, and the Michael Devlin Task Force ultimately closed its doors.
In early 2012, investigators executed a search warrant at a home in Scott’s neighborhood. Holes were drilled into the garage floor as well as other areas of the house, and dogs were used to help search for clues. In what has become a common theme, nothing was found.
Most recently, a Florida inmate (who is also an ex-cop from Chicago) made claims in 2013 that he knew the identity of Scott Kleeschulte’s abductor. After investigating, the St. Charles County District Attorney’s office stated they’d learned nothing new from the man.
The case is still open, and the mystery remains.
What happened to Scott Kleeschulte?