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Khighla Parks' family remembers and waits for justice one year later

September 20, 2013|by Linda Russell, KY3 reporter and Tim Leimkuhler, KY3 photojournalist | It's been one year since 15 year old Khighla Parks went missing. Her body was found ten days after her disappearance, but no one is charged in her death

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--  It's been one year since a Greene county family's nightmare began.  Khighla Parks was last seen near her home south of Willard on September 20th of last year.  Her body was found ten days later in Truman Lake. 

While Anthony Balbirnie of Springfield is charged with taking her body to the lake, no one is charged in her death. 

Khighla's family remembers her beautiful voice, her love of life, love of horses and her big dreams.
Bonnie Adams, Khighla's grandmother says, "She wanted someday to have a ranch and horses, and she could invite children that were from backgrounds that the children needed help, maybe from the foster system, disabilities, that type of things." 

It may be a dream inspired by her grandparents.  Bonnie and Mike Adams have fostered 104 children over the years, adopting eight of them, and have two biological children.

Her loved ones fulfilled one of Khighla's dreams last Christmas.  "She said, Grandma, promise me that we will have a float in the Christmas parade.  So I kind of blew it off, like not a big deal, but she said, no Grandma, I mean it.  Promise me," says Adams.

Bonnie Adams wears the necklace she received the day of Khighla's burial, representing their mutual fondness of fairies.  They are part of another wish she plans to fulfill.  "She said, Grandma, promise me that you will write a book about the clutter fairies and all the silly songs and the stories you've told me over the years.  And I kind of, you know, stood my ground and said, maybe one day.  And she said, no no, do that Grandma, okay?  And I said, yes, I will do it," says Adams.

Another wish, Khighla's family can't fulfill on their own.  They can only wait.  "It's difficult, but at the same time, we have to be patient.  The wheels of justice grind very slowly.  We know that.  But ultimately, we do feel that we will have an answer to all of this," Adams says.

They take comfort in the love and support of those around them.  "My husband and I have been very blessed by the number of people that have come to us," Adams says.

They find peace in knowing that Khighla is in God's hands, as well as anyone involved in her death.  "She deserved to live and to have a full life.  But what matters is in heaven, and those involved are going to have to be accountable, not just to our judicial system, but to God himself," Adams says.


Investigators believe Khighla's death occurred in Dallas County, but the cause of death was never determined.  Our calls to the sheriff and prosecutor on Friday were not returned.

Members of Khighla's family plan to spend Saturday, the anniversary of her death, at the 19th Annual Trail Ride for One Missing Link, which supports families with missing loved ones.  The public is welcome at the trail ride near Collins at Eagle Ranch Resort.  Registration is from 8:30 to 9:30 AM Saturday, September 21st.  The trail ride begins at 10:00 AM.  A BBQ dinner, auction and live music will also be part of the fundraiser.

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