Searchers find clothing near pond, but Hellen Cook remains missing

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BENTON COUNTY, Mo. -- Thursday came and went in the search for Hellen Cook without any sight of her. She wandered off from a family lake property on July 13 and police are still searching with the help a robust volunteer effort.

More than 200 volunteers gathered on Thursday morning all with hopes of finding her alive. The search was somewhat disappointing. Volunteers scoured an area of woods near Truman State Park and found only three articles of clothing: a pair of shoes and a scarf.

Police believe they belong to Cook, they were found near a small pond where efforts have previously been focused.

“We have had people in that area, I know it was hit fairly hard the first night that the original report was made. But the items were in thick prairie grass,” Benton County Sheriff Rick Fajan said.

Howard Cook, Hellen’s husband, said that today’s efforts were the best so far and he is still holding out hope.

“I choose to be optimistic, I choose to believe that we are going to find her and she’s going to be okay,” Cook said.

Volunteers want their efforts to succeed and to assist a neighbor in need.

“It would mean a lot, it’s a small community, a pretty tight-knit community. It doesn’t matter if you know somebody personally or not, it’s community,” volunteer Kerry Keys said.

A police helicopter will be utilized during the next leg of the search to survey the pond area where the clothes were found. A previous air search of the same area didn’t yield any clues to Cook’s whereabouts.

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