Getting Off Scott-Free - The Missourian: Opinion

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Getting Off Scott-Free

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Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 6:32 pm

We are extremely pleased that 36-year-old Michael Hill and his 16-year-old son, David Hill, were found safe and sound in the Moselle area late last week, although we remain puzzled about the entire ordeal.

The Hills, according to reports from St. Louis County Police, apparently decided at the spur of the moment to run out on the elder man’s wife while they were visiting the Pacific Palisades access to the Meramec River in western St. Louis County on July 2.

Their journey led them to the Moselle area, where personal effects were found on July 5 and the two themselves were found camping on private property last Thursday, July 11.

Both Franklin County and St. Louis County officials said the duo was questioned and released and that no crimes were committed.

Their release ended what was, at least at times, a massive search for the father and son in portions of both Franklin and St. Louis counties along the Meramec River. Manpower numbering in the dozens — in both counties — was dispatched to the scenes to search both water and land for the twosome.

According to reports, Michael Hill and his wife, who live in Illinois, were having marital problems that apparently were not getting resolved. When they all traveled to the Eureka area for a vacation, the man and his son spontaneously decided to take off and head for Branson, where Michael’s mother apparently lives.

Their journey on foot from Pacific Palisades to Moselle took them about 12 to 15 miles by rail.

The father told authorities he realized that maybe they were being searched for, but that he was not sure.

But, in the end, it cost taxpayers a tidy sum to search for and finally locate the pair.

That doesn’t sit particularly well with us.

We’re not sure what can be done, but the fact that we taxpayers are footing this bill apparently caused by this domestic dispute between two individuals who don’t even live in this state seems wrong.

Yes, it’s true that through our tax dollars we have to pay for the excellent protection we receive from our police and fire personnel. We understand that, accept that and even welcome that. We’re fortunate to have that top-notch protection.

But in this case, shouldn’t some of that burden be placed on this man who apparently decided to take a walk along the rails at the spur of the moment and go visit his mama because he couldn’t get along with his wife?

And then also to potentially put his 16-year-old son in danger at the same time?

Again, we’re thrilled both are safe and that this story has a happy ending. Too often these days, these cases end in tragedy.

But there still is no excuse for the two of them to enjoy their 11-day journey at our expense.

/opinion

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