Magazine Revives Missing Teen Case

A national magazine article is reviving a forgotten missing person case in Henderson.

Samantha Clonch, now 17, disappeared from her mother's neighborhood more than three years ago. When Samantha first disappeared, authorities considered her a classic runaway and few media outlets touched the story. That changed this week when Samantha's picture turned up in People Magazine.

The missing teen's photo was part of a feature article about Elizabeth Smart. The magazine listed Samantha and dozens of other kids among those still missing.

"This case has been a series of dead ends," says lead investigator James Pierson with Henderson P.D. "It's very frustrating when you have something for 4 years, and you don't know if she's somewhere perfectly happy, or in trouble."

June Clonch saw the blurb on her daughter when the magazine hit newsstands Wednesday. On a page adjacent to her daughter's photograph, June noticed a picture of Elizabeth Smart embracing her parents.

"I wish that was my baby coming home," June replied. "I hope one day she will come home, and I can have the joy that her parents have."

June last saw her daughter in September 1999. She remembers Samantha walking the wrong way to school and disappearing in the distance. Authorities always believed someone knew where Samantha was going, but none of their leads have panned out.

"We don't even know if she left voluntarily," says detective Pierson.

Pierson is grateful People Magazine called to do the missing child spread. But he's reluctant to believe it will solve his longest standing case.

"I don't know how they came up with her name out of all those missing kids," Pierson concluded. "It will be a blessing if it works. But I've learned not to get my hopes up."

  Kerri Panchuk, reporting.