Exeter girls remain missing

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Have you seen these children? Abby and Isabella Chapman were last seen on July 10. They are believed to be with their father, Matthew Justin Chapman, 35, of Exeter. Individuals with information on the missing children or their father are asked to call the Barry County Sheriff's Department at 847-3121.

With two small children still missing, the Barry County Sheriff's Department has issued a warrant for the arrest of Matthew Justin Chapman, 35, of Exeter. He is charged with kidnapping his daughters, Abby L. Chapman, 7, and Isabella K. Chapman, 3, both of Exeter.

"Amber Chapman filed a missing persons report on her two children on July 10," said Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly. "The Chapmans are still married and no custody papers have been issued to either of them.

"State statutes say that if she or he has the children she or he must let the other one know that the children are safe," said Epperly. "He hasn't done that, so we have issued a warrant for parental kidnapping."

Matthew Chapman

A Missouri Highway Patrol alert has also been issued for Matthew Chapman and the children, said Epperly.

"We have been searching places that Amber said he liked to go camping," said Epperly. "We know that he had a cell phone, and we have not been able to make contact with him through that cell phone."

According to Epperly, Matthew Chapman originally told Amber Chapman that he was taking the two girls to Silver Dollar City in Branson. She has not seen him or the children since.

"We know that he got rid of the vehicle he used to drive and has come into another vehicle," said Epperly. "That is a maroon colored Jeep. We also know that he had a lot of camping equipment in the vehicle."

Due to the fact that Matthew Chapman has been known to own several weapons, the Barry County Sheriff's Department has listed the warrant with a cautionary indicator for law enforcement, said Epperly.

"I have seen a letter that was from him in which he stated that he believes the children are better off with him," said Epperly. "After reading the letter, I believe that he loves his children very much, and as far as I know, he would not harm them, but they need to be located and this situation needs to be handled in the proper way.

"We know that he is not working," said Epperly. "If he feels like he is on the run, things could deteriorate for him and the children very quickly."

Amber Chapman has indicated that Matthew Chapman has said he would like to one day visit Colorado or Wyoming, said Epperly.

"We have searched his mother's and sisters' homes and a lot of other locations and not come up with anything so far," said Epperly. "If anyone knows anything about their location, we urge them to call the sheriff's department. They can remain anonymous. We just need to find these children."

Matthew Chapman is five foot, 11 inches tall and weighs around 170 pounds. He has brown hair and green eyes. Abby Chapman is four feet tall and weighs around 45 pounds. She has brown hair and blue eyes. Isabella Chapman is three feet tall and weighs 40 pounds. She has blond hair and blue eyes.

Individuals with information on Matthew Chapman or his daughters are asked to call the Barry County Sheriff's Department at 847-3121.

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  • To whom it may concern,

    I have been seeing all the tv interviews that Amber Chapman has been giving. None of them check out any of the information that they get, they don't check to see if it's right. She claims she would never hurt the girls, I know for a fact that the State of Missouri took them from her, Matthew Chapman done the required course's, and the state RELEASED THEM INTO HIS CUSTODY, cause she wouldn't do the courses. And as for her not knowing why he would take of with them like that is also another lie. I've read on one of the many news sites covering this that he would hurt those girls. That is a huge lie. His world revolves around those girls. He would do ANYTHING to protect them. My husband even talked to a reporter for one of the news stations, and Amber Chapman's mother ran him of the property for talking with the reporter. So they must be worried that he was going to tell them something that they didn't want out. My husband has been friends with Matthew since they was in grade school, I have known him for the last 11 years, and have been around all of his kids since they was babies. He is always patient with the girls, always taking them with him when has them, it don't matter if it's just to walk down the street. He always tried to call and talk to them when they had to stay with their mom. And as for her having them for the last 3 yrs. that is a big lie, Matthew has had them almost all the time. I just want Matthew to have some one talk on his side, and understand why he did what he did. Talk to people around Exeter, even read Face Book, see what her wall says, better yet what everyone else is saying that knows both of them.

    -- Posted by curlysue04 on Tue, Aug 2, 2011, at 2:59 PM
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