Police searching for 6-year-old St. Louis-area girl; father says she vanished at breakfast

Friday, July 26th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

VALLEY PARK, Mo. (AP) _ Police using helicopters and bloodhounds searched for a 6-year-old suburban St. Louis girl reported missing Friday morning. Authorities said they believe she was kidnapped.

Authorities said Cassandra ``Casey'' Williamson was in the kitchen of a Valley Park home at around 7:30 a.m., with her father, Ernie Williamson. The family lives nearby, but was staying at the home of a friend.

Williamson said he was about to pour his daughter a bowl of cereal and left the room briefly to go the bathroom. When he returned, the girl was gone.

Police don't believe she is with relatives or friends. Police checked across the street at the child's grandfather's home, but she wasn't there.

``We are calling this an abduction and treating it as such,'' said St. Louis County police spokesman Rick Eckhard. ``It was not in her character to leave the home. She's still in her nightgown. So we believe it was an abduction at this time.''

Cassandra's mother, Angela, said, ``She never walks off without telling me she's going somewhere. She doesn't even go to her friend's house without telling me she was going. I just want my baby.''

Police questioned another man who was staying at the home, but Eckhard said he was just one of several people sought for questioning. His name was not released.

As word of the disappearance spread, volunteers began joining in the search. Many were looking around an area along the Meramec River, which runs through Valley Park in southwest St. Louis County.

Several cases of child abductions involving young girls have been in the news in recent weeks.