PEA RIDGE “Man, I didn’t mean to invade your space,” the man said as he jumped out of the camper trailer, startling Darin and Ashley Henson.
Ashley, 8, ran screaming into the house, yelling: “Man in the trailer. Man in the trailer.”
Her mother, Dawnitta, dialed 911.
The man matched the description of Cory Wolf, who Darin Henson had just seen that morning on the television news. Darin, who stood there with a hammer, remembered that Wolf was described as dangerous. They exchanged a few words and the man walked down their long driveway and down the long dirt road — Cloer Road.
Wolf was the driver of a vehicle that led several law enforcement agencies on a pursuit Tuesday afternoon and then crashed on Hayden Road, less than a mile across the hilly fields west of the Henson’s house.
Thursday, Benton County Sheriff’s deputies, Pea Ridge police and McDonald County, Mo., sheriff’s deputies scoured the woods around the area for miles.
“We’ve been out in force today,” Benton County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Mike Jones said. “We have witnesses who say, after looking at the picture, that it was Wolf.”
Darin Henson said he thought it strange that the trailer was locked because he had left the door unlocked. He hitched it to his pickup truck, then took it to the house. It had been parked in a shed away from the house next to another trailer.
After seeing the weather forecast on the TV news Wednesday evening, he knew the rain would end. He decided the family could continue with their plans to go camping. That’s why he got the trailer a few minutes later.
Dawnitta explained she and Darin tried for 15 or 20 minutes to get the trailer unlocked before Darin and Ashley went outside with a hammer to pry the hinges off the door. That’s when the door came flying open.
“I was scared,” Ashley said.
Darrin, who recalled seeing news of the manhunt and the man, knew the person standing before him was Cory Wolf.
“I knew it was him, but acted like I didn’t because I’d heard he was dangerous,” Darin said.
Dawnitta said she locked all the doors to the house and dialed 911, then saw her husband coming towards the house and the man walking away.
“I asked them (CENCOM dispatcher) if I should follow him, but they said not to,” she said. Approximately 30 minutes later, a deputy sheriff arrived at their house.
The Hensons said the deputies looked around, left to search the area and didn’t return. They said they weren’t asked to give a statement until Thursday morning.
The Hensons said they didn’t hear back from the deputies, so they called about 10:30 p.m. and were told the deputies didn’t believe it was Wolf.
“There was somebody in my trailer,” Darin said on Thursday, “who wasn’t supposed to be there. This morning I called (Pea Ridge Police) Chief Ledbetter and he came out.”
Dawnitta said the family hardly slept all night and her daughters, Ashley and her older sister, Nicole, 11, were in her bed all night. She said she found a hat and a blanket in the trailer.
Jones explained that a couple of deputies dispatched to the scene made a cursory search. They determined that the man had left the area.
Jones said there is an investigation into the deputies’ response.
“I got a call early this morning. We have been out in force. We’ve been through outbuildings. We’ve knocked on doors. We’ve been through houses that were left unlocked and left notes on the doors explaining that we were there,” Jones said, adding that anyone who sees anything suspicious should call 911 immediately and not approach Wolf.