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31 years later, hope for a son

Missing Children's Day renews focus on many disappearances

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Karen Grajeda, top, and James Hendrickson as they looked when they went missing on the left and in age progression photos showing what they might look like today on the right.

More than three decades after the disappearance of her little boy, Peggy Foley still has hope.

"I personally think there's more to it," she said. "It's not over."

Foley hasn't seen her son, Randy Doyle Parscale Jr., since April 1979.

Randy, then 10 years old and a third-grader at Roberts Elementary School, was hiking in Peppersauce Canyon near Oracle with his father and other family members when he ran ahead on the trail and disappeared from sight. For almost a week hundreds of searchers - on foot, on horseback, via helicopter and using search dogs - scoured the rough terrain on the north side of the Catalina Mountains. An Oracle man who was part of the search party died of a heart attack while looking for Randy.

Theories about Randy's disappearance ranged from kidnapping to falling down one of the old mine shafts in the area.

Foley believes he was abducted. A tracker who worked on the search followed Randy's footprints to a dirt road where it appeared he got into a vehicle, she said.

"There are people interested in this cold case because there are some promising leads ... providing the potential for a more conclusive determination," Foley said of a renewed interest in her son's disappearance.

Since Randy vanished, his father and two grandfathers have died without answers.

Randy is one of 11 Southern Arizona children who are listed as missing.

Today - National Missing Children's Day - representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office and members of local law enforcement are handing out information about child safety from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. near the children's play area in Tucson Mall, 4500 N. Oracle Road. The Arizona Freemasons will provide free children's identification kits at the event.

Every year in America an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing. That amounts to roughly 2,200 each day. In Arizona, 70 children are profiled on a website run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

"The vast majority of missing children come home alive," said Ernie Allen, president of the center. "Just because it's been a day or a week or a month or a year ... doesn't mean you give up. Our view is that none of these cases is ever closed until we know what happened to them with certainty.

"What parents and loved ones say to me every day is, 'The worst is the not knowing,' " Allen said. "Our message: There is hope."

Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at 573-4191 or kmatas@azstarnet.com


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