RISCO -- A local reward fund has been set up for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disappearance of Teresa Butler, a 35-year-old wife and mother who disappeared from her home just east of Risco on Jan. 25.
The reward was started by Butler's church, the Risco First Baptist Church, with $2,000.
Teresa Butler and her husband, Dale, were both baptized into the church a few years ago and attended regularly until her disappearance.
With the hope that others will donate to the reward fund, church members established the fund with the understanding that after three years, if no arrests or convictions are made, the money will go into a scholarship fund for needy Risco students planning to attend college.
Gene Lancaster, the church's pastor, said it hoped by church members that if the reward is not collected, Mrs. Butler's sons will be among those receiving scholarship money provided they still live in this area. Teresa and Dale Butler have two young sons, Gavin, 4, and Garrett, 2.
Mrs. Butler was reported missing by her husband after he returned home from working an overnight shift at an Arkansas steel mill at about 9 a.m. Jan. 25. Butler found their two boys home alone and no sign of his wife. The family's vehicle parked outside the home had been burglarized and other various items were missing from inside the home. By all accounts, the 35-
year-old wife and mother would not have left willingly.
In addition to the local reward fund, the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Modesto, Calif., has posted a $5,000 reward for Mrs. Butler's safe return.
The Teresa Butler Reward/Scholarship Fund is set up at the Sun Security Bank in Risco. Donations can be sent to the bank at 121 Front St., PO Box 16, Risco MO, 63874.
For individuals who would like to make a tax-deductible donation, checks can be made to the church, designated for the reward fund. Those donations may be sent to the Risco First Baptist Church - Teresa Butler Reward/Scholarship Fund, PO Box 228, Risco Mo., 63874.
For more information about donating to the reward fund, call the church at 573-396-5557, or the bank at 573-396-5511.
Persons with any information about the case should contact the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department at (573) 748-2516 or the Missouri State Highway Patrol at (573) 840-9500.
Mrs. Butler is described as about 5-feet-7 and weighs about 110 pounds. She has short black hair and brown eyes. To print out a missing person poster, go to the National Center for Missouri Adults Web site at www.theyaremissed.org.