Second of three children returns home after missing for nearly 19 years

A Greenfield man is reconnecting with two of his three children nearly two decades after they disappeared.

Just imagine, 18 years after your three children disappeared, you get a phone call that one of them wants to come home.

Then a second.

Now, Steven Slinkard is getting reacquainted with his two boys and hoping his little girl will be next.

The sign at the Hancock County Courthouse tells Slinkard's story - "Experience our past. Share our future."

For the Slinkards, the past meant a family of five rocked by divorce. Wife Trena took the couple's three children and ran, rather than face a custody hearing. She ran all the way to Mexico.

Husband Steve was left behind, alone.

"They are always on my mind. They never leave," Slinkard told Eyewitness News in July 1996.

That was the last time Steven Slinkard spoke publicly about the October 1995 disappearance.

"I just wonder how they feel or what they were told. All those years," Greenfield resident Wilhelmina Bundy said Wednesday.

"Oh my gosh, I could not imagine. I can't imagine that at all. I feel sorry for that father," Greenfield resident Karie Hand added.

He waited and hoped. In January of this year, he was rewarded with little Nathan, who was only five when he last saw his father, returned at age 23.

"There was a reunion between him and his dad. I got to be there, of course, being a dad myself, he was happy to get his son back," Hancock County Sheriff Mike Shepard said.

So imagine six months later when, as the headline in the Daily Reporter reveals, a second child returned. Seven-year-old Andrew came home at 25.

Now the hope is by keeping everything low-key, the two will be able to convince their little sister Sydney, now 21, to complete the reunion.

"Hopefully, they will communicate with her everything is fine. Kept it private, kept it low-key. So hopefully, she will return, also," Shepard added.

The community is enthralled by it all.

"I think it is neat, though. I think it is something. I'd like to know an update since the one has been back for a while. You really have not heard any more on how he's doing, how he is adjusting to dad," Bundy said.

"The holidays, watching them grow up and just everything you have missed. Gone," Hand added as she was tearing up.

Hand is in the middle of a custody dispute herself.

At one time, there was a federal warrant out for Trena's arrest, but that has since been dropped. The hope was that might spur the children's return.