Foul Play Eyed in Girl's Disappearance

Stepfather of a child last seen Friday night is "uncooperative," sheriff says.

Nov. 5, 2007— -- Investigators in Missouri fear that foul play may be involved in the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl last seen Friday night.

David Spears told authorities that he last saw his stepdaughter, Rowan Ford, Friday night at 10:45 p.m., Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland told ABC News. Spears then left the house with two friends until around midnight, during which time the fourth-grade girl was left alone in their unlocked Stella, Mo., home. Spears told investigators that he did not check on the girl before going to bed.

The girl's mother, Colleen Spears, had left for her night job at Wal-Mart about two hours earlier. When she arrived home from work Saturday morning, her daughter was not there to greet her, Copeland said.

"The mother worked nights, the dad worked days," Copeland said. "So he was home and he decides to go out drinking with the boys."

David Spears initially told his wife that he did not know where the girl was, the sheriff said. He later told her that Rowan may have woken him up during the night and said something about going to a friend's house, but he could not be sure, Copeland said.

David and Colleen Spears spent the day Saturday searching for the girl. They had no luck at various friends' houses, and Saturday evening they reported her missing to the sheriff's department.

Throughout Sunday and into today, volunteers and various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and Missouri State Highway Patrol, have searched the woods near the house where the girl lives with her mother and Spears. Investigators also looked through sex offender databases for anyone registered near the home's address.

There was no evidence of a crime scene at the home, Copeland said. Still, authorities continue to believe that the girl's disappearance involved foul play.

"There's nothing natural or common about this 9-year-old female getting up from bed and leaving the house at night by herself," Copeland said. "There's no doubt in our mind that she was taken from the residence."

Authorities have not identified any suspects in the girl's disappearance, but they also haven't ruled anyone out -- including family members. Copeland described Colleen Spears as "very upset" and cooperative with the investigation. He also said that co-workers confirmed that she was at her job at Wal-Mart.

David Spears, he said, took a much different tack.

"The stepfather was uncooperative with us," Copeland said, adding that Spears has refused to speak with police anymore until he consults with an attorney.

Investigators also learned -- and Spears acknowledged -- that he'd left the house for a second time early Saturday morning and was not there between 1:30 a.m. and about 7 a.m. During that time, Copeland said, David Spears' mother was at the house while her son used her car. The woman told investigators that she did not check on her stepgranddaughter while her son was away from the house.

Where David Spears was for more than five hours remains unknown. "We don't know," Copeland said. "We know where he said he went."

A message left by ABC News at the Spears' Stella home was not returned.

Rowan Ford is described as just under 4 feet tall and weighing 62 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. It's unclear what she was wearing when she disappeared.