Search continues for five missing horses after poachers cut fence near Raytown

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Horses don't vanish into thin air.

That's what it seems like to horse owners at one stable near Raytown, after a two-week search for five missing quarter horses.

It was a careless, selfish moment where poachers knocked down a barbed-wire fence. That's what owners at Thorn Hill Horse Boarding told FOX 4 News, saying an illegal hunter cut through a strong barbed wire fence on December 14th. A wildlife ranger discovered the broken fence, as well as remains of a deer those hunters dragged through the hole they'd created in the fence.

"We can't sleep at night for thinking about it. Everybody hurts," Wedel said on Monday.

The hole, according to owner Bruce Wedel, allowed horses to run free. Wedel says they were seen on nearby properties, including Little Blue Elementary School, but the horses vanished before anyone could collect them. Wedel says they're valued at $500-1,500 apiece.

Wedel owns the stables and property, leasing space to horse owners, who keep their horses there as pets.

"Social media is very much aware of it. Just about anyone you talk to has either seen or heard of this incident. It's beyond my realm of comprehension where are they? Why can't we find them?" Wedel asked rhetorically.

"We've been looking for our horses all over the country," Bill Edrington, owner of two missing horses, said. "It's horrifying."

Edrington says it's been two weeks of misery for him. He's kept his horses at Thorn Hill Horse Boarding for a decade, but now, he and his family are distraught over their disappearance.

"These horses are my girlfriend's -- they're like her kids," Edrington said.

"If somebody has them in their barn, I wish they'd contact us about it. We'd like to have our horses back."

Both men believe someone may have used a truck to transport the horses away from the area. Wedel says he's used a small airplane to search the area from the sky, but the trail has gone cold.

"The bottom line is, these are somebody's animals. They're not going to do them a damn bit of good. These people we have here? Their hearts are broken," Wedel pleaded.

Wedel also says there's a cash reward for information leading to the return of those horses. If you can help with the search, please call the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

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