A former boy’s boarding school in McDonald County has vanished after police were investigating the well being of a child.
“They moved here with I think 5 or 6 boys and within the year they’d expanded and had some younger kids. I think they were up to about 10,” says Russel Van Elk.
The Joshua Home was an organization that claimed to help troubled boys through Christian education.
“We’d actually talked about building more rooms,” says Russel Van Elk.
“What started us on it was a couple of people called us to check well being where we go out and check on the kids,” says Michael Hall.
The sheriff’s office went out to the property to investigate, but when talking to the kids, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
“Both times from what I understand from the reports the kids said they were fine and there were no problems,” says Michael Hall.
“They seemed like nice people. The kids seemed happy,” says Russel Van Elk.
But before the investigation could be completed, the organization had packed up and left.
“We were checking different aspects of the place, but now they’ve moved to Texas, so our investigation is now incomplete,” says Michael Hall.
One thing that was discovered at the property…the current residents of the home told us that the first floor where the boys stayed had the locks on the outside of all doors, so anyone inside the house could potentially be locked in.
“That’s why we’re checking into it and trying to find out if there are any regulations that they were you know not following or supposed to be doing, stuff like that. It seems odd and I’ll kind of leave it at that as far as that’s why we were checking into it,” says Hall.
Sheriff Mike Hall hopes this incident will encourage the Missouri legislature to create better regulation for organizations such as this, so this doesn’t continue to happen.
This is not the first time this organization and the leader have been under suspicion. Alabama police were also investigating what was known as the Blessed Hope Boys Academy under the direction of Gary Wiggins when the state passed stricter regulation on schools such as this. Wiggins and the school then moved to Southwest Missouri where he began the Joshua home.
The group is said to be in a rural area in Bertram, Texas now, where the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office has notified them of the situation. Unless there are any developments in the case in McDonald County, the investigation will remain unfinished.