This is the first in a three-part series of articles about the disappearance and murder of fourteen-year-old Curtis Anthony Huntzinger. He disappeared in 1990. A friend of his family, Steven Daniel Hash, had been molesting him for over a year, shot him to death and buried him. Hash pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and lead the cops to Curtis’s grave in December 2008. He only faced twelve years in prison. I don’t believe they charged him in connection with the molestations. Statute of limitations, I guess, as well as lack of evidence. It’s a shame, because twelve years clearly isn’t enough.
Curiously, the NCMEC had Curtis listed as a runaway long after it became obvious he’d met with foul play, and even after Hash’s guilty plea!
I found a new article about the disappearance of Nicholle Coppler; May 19 will be the ten-year anniversary of her disappearance. She may have run away initially, but the cops think she was forced into prostitution and may very well be dead. The article talks about the Coppler case and also how the Lima police deal with suspected runaways.
The Coppler case hits close to home for me — literally. Lima (pronounced like the bean, not the Peruvian city) is the nearest city of any size to my own rural Ohio village, and my father works there. I used to commute there several times a week when I was taking classes at Ohio State. I’ve been on Elizabeth Street many times. It’s a kind of rough neighborhood.
As for Nicholle, I hope she’s alive. She might be. I’ve heard some rumors to that effect, that she’s alive and living in Las Vegas or somewhere. But it seems like she would have gotten in touch with her family by now if she could have.