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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Update: Bells announce safe return

Church bells pealed from Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pepin, Wis., at the news that Christopher Samples, a 4-year-old member missing for more than a year, was found safe in Ohio Sept. 12. Residents and Immanuel�s members and pastor had been involved in the search (January, page 8).

The FBI launched a search 17 months ago for Christopher and his father, Mark Samples. Investigators believe Samples took Christopher while awaiting trial on charges that he robbed a credit union in Red Wing, Minn.

They were discovered after authorities received a tip from the Crimestoppers hotline. Samples, who was considered armed and dangerous, was arrested while doing yard work outside the East Rochester, Ohio, home where he was living. Christopher was inside, alone, watching cartoons at the time. The boy's mother, Jennifer Bjork, was relieved and in shock at the news. She was reunited with her son in Pepin. Slightly taller and thinner, Christopher seemed to recognize his mother immediately.

Next month: 'Home for the holidays,' an interview with Jennifer Bjork.


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