Elizabeth Hornbeck has been missing since September 2015.
Story by Karla Vanatta
Remains identified as Elizabeth’s. In March of 2017, a man hunting for scrap metal found the remains. She had been left in the woods off a county road not far from U.S. 60 near Mountain View. A forensic examination confirmed a positive identification on the remains.
The authorities have released that the remains of Elizabeth have likely been found. Karla Vanatta spoke with Elizabeth’s mom, who was very emotional and stated she needed time to process the information. She had hoped her daughter was still alive.
Elizabeth Hornbeck was last seen almost a year and a half ago on September 24, 2015. No one has heard from her since that day, nor has she posted on any of her various social media accounts. At first glance it appears she has vanished without a trace. However, there is always a trace. Those responsible for her disappearance cannot remain in the shadows forever. We will shine a light on her case until they are seen.
On the morning of her abduction, and I say abduction and will continue saying that until someone can prove otherwise, Elizabeth went to work at the McDonald’s Restaurant in Willow Springs at 7 a.m. and worked until 2:12 p.m. She told her mother Lisa Hornbeck that she was coming over after work. When she did not show up, her mother called her phone but her boyfriend answered and he told her that Elizabeth was on her way there and she should be there in a little bit.
Elizabeth parked her car at the Town and Country Supermarket on 5th street in Mountain View, Missouri, then walked to her mother’s house on 3rd street. Elizabeth had been parking her vehicle at various places and walking to her mother’s house for a few months leading up to her disappearance, because in the past someone had put sugar in her gas tank and she did not want that to happen again.
When Elizabeth made it to her mother’s house she seemed distracted and upset. Her mom tried to ask her what was the matter but she didn’t want to talk about it. After her disappearance, a close friend of Elizabeth’s told her mother that the day of her disappearance after Elizabeth got off work, she called her, whether on purpose or accident she was unsure. The friend could hear Elizabeth and her boyfriend Jacob Loo yelling and fighting really bad about something, but she could not make out what they were fighting about. She kept yelling in to the phone and asking Elizabeth if she needed her to come get her. Finally Elizabeth told her no and then hung up. According to her mother, Elizabeth is not the kind of person to let someone mistreat her. She is a very strong person and she stood up for herself.
Lisa asked Elizabeth where her phone was and she told her she did not have it anymore. Her mom asked her why and she didn’t have an answer. Elizabeth’s mother later found out that Jacob made Elizabeth get rid of the phone she bought her. He claimed they were sharing his phone, but he kept it on him.
After her disappearance, friends have come forward saying that they have seen her boyfriend be abusive to her. They say that at least twice, someone called law enforcement on him for hurting her. I was unable to find any evidence of a police report ever being made.
After Elizabeth left her mother’s house she walked back to her car. Around 9 p.m. a witness saw someone fitting Elizabeth’s description walk down 5th street, towards the Town and country, but instead of stopping at her car, she walked past the store and walked into Veteran’s Park, which was on the corner, across the street. Another witness saw her arguing loudly with two men, then saw one of the men pushing her into a car and leaving with her. At this time police are not releasing a description of the men or the vehicle, because it could compromise their investigation.
The Town and Country had a surveillance camera up, but the picture was too fuzzy to see any further past the store. The video did catch Elizabeth parking her car and getting out, alone. It could not however reach far enough to see anything on the road. No other videos from the few businesses in town that had surveillance cameras showed anything that could help identify who she left with.
The witness that saw her being shoved into the car was very adamant that she was arguing with the two men and she did not look like she wanted to go with them.
On September 26th, Elizabeth did not show up at work at her second job Conley’s Quik Stop in Ponoma. A regular customer, who was aware of the abuse Elizabeth endured from her boyfriend, called the sheriff’s department at 12:05 p.m. and told them that Elizabeth had not shown up at work and was unaccounted for. The caller asked them to do a well-being check on Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s boyfriend filed a missing persons report that same day.
In the almost 17 months since her disappearance, Elizabeth’s boyfriend decided to start selling off her personal items and belongings. Those that he felt weren’t worthy of selling, he left behind when he moved. A neighbor took the items. She posted on Help Bring Elizabeth Home, which is a Facebook page set up together all of the information about Elizabeth’s disappearance, and hopefully encourage anyone with information to come forward. The woman told Elizabeth’s mother that she took a lot of Elizabeth’s things and even wore her shoes and thought of her when she did. She told Lisa that if she wanted Elizabeth’s things she could call her. Lisa did call but she never got an answer. So the only items she was ever able to get of her daughters, she had to buy from Elizabeth’s boyfriend. In addition Jacob Loo’s mother also later gave her items they had at their house.
There is no proof YET of who is involved in Elizabeth’s disappearance, but at the very least, there is clear evidence that her boyfriend sold his missing girlfriend’s items for a profit. That much we can say we know for sure. A source that wishes to remain anonymous made claims that Jacob Loo has a history of drug abuse. Whether or not that is true, or has any bearing on Elizabeth’s disappearance, are unclear at this time. I could not find any public court records verifying Mr. Loo’s drug abuse history and everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
One of these days the truth will come to light and Elizabeth will be brought home. “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 NIV
When asked how she gets through each day of her daughter being missing, Elizabeth’s mother said, “You get up every day, and you go to work, and you try not to focus on all that could be happening. You just dive into work and being there for the people who depend on you. You go to bed. You cry yourself to sleep. You get up. It’s not something you get through. Every day passes and you just want to stop time until you find them. As days go by they just blur into each other. Before you know it, it has been a year and 5 months. You look back and think, ‘How could that happen?’ You look for hope. You wait for that phone call that says they found her and are bringing her home. You wait for that one moment, that one tip that comes across your page. You wait for that one phone call that comes in from anywhere. You don’t survive it. You are really not even there – thinking. If your child is missing, then your life is missing out from underneath you. All you can do is focus on your other kids and try to be there for them until she comes home.”
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Elizabeth Hornbeck, please come forward. Bring Elizabeth Hornbeck home! Help give her Mom her life back!
Footnote: Jacob Loo was arrested in Howell County on Feb. 19, 2017 for possession of a controlled substance and bonded out on Feb. 20, 2017.
Howell County Sheriff’s Office 417-2565-2544
Sgt Warren Wiedemann with the Missouri State Highway Patrol 417-469-3121
Howell County Sheriff’s Department criminal Investigator Shannon Caldwell at Howell County Sheriff’s Department 417-256-2544
Mtn. View Police Department 417-934-2525
Elizabeth Hornbeck: NamUs MP# 33831
Weight: 130 lbs
Hair Color: blonde/strawberry blonde
Eye color: Brown
Tattoos: Chinese symbol on back of neck; small 2 pieced heart on shoulder; names of both sons, one on the underside of each wrist
You might also like to read Elizabeth Hornbeck missing from Missouri
Story by Karla Vanatta