Happy Ending

U.S. Army veteran Richard Vaughan, left, with his soon-to-be wife Sandra Mantilla were seen outside their home in Killeen Friday. Vaughan was found in an area hospital this week, after reportedly being missing for 15 days.

After 15 days of searching for her lost common-law husband of 12 years, Killeen resident Sandra Mantilla happily reported not only was her husband found, but they legally tied the knot at a local courthouse Friday to celebrate his safe return home.

Mantilla credits the Killeen Daily Herald, in part, for finding her husband, Army veteran Richard Vaughan, who had been missing since May 26.

Mantilla was notified Wednesday that Vaughan was at an area mental health hospital after a hospital employee saw his story and face in the Sunday edition of the Herald. A staff member of the hospital called Mantilla to tell her Vaughn was in their facility.

“If it wasn’t for (the Herald) putting it out, I wouldn’t have known what was really going on,” Mantilla said Friday. “I can’t thank you enough.”

Vaughan returned home safely Thursday after his release from the hospital.

“I appreciate you putting my face out there when I was, you know, on the missing list, on the runaway train,” Vaughan told the Herald Friday.

The two children Mantilla cares for, ages 5 and 2, were ecstatic to see their “Papa Richard,” Mantilla said.

“They won’t let go of him right now, they’re like stuck on him,” she said. “The kids are so excited, and hugged him, and kissed him, and said “Welcome home, Papa Richard.”

According to Mantilla, Vaughan was taken to the mental hospital, Cedar Crest Hospital and Residential Treatment Center in Belton, via the Killeen Police Department — the same department Mantilla filed a missing person report with on May 28, two days after Vaughan went missing.

“Supposedly he went to the police department and the police department put him in an ambulance and took him there,” she said. “So, how did they not know?”

Regardless of how Vaughan ended up at the hospital, Mantilla said she’s just happy their nightmare is over.

“I was so worried,” she said. “I was going crazy, I was losing it, you know. I was like, ‘Where’s my baby.’ I was so scared something happened to him out there. He’s home now. He’s here now. We are fixing to go walk out the door and get married because of how happy we are being together right now.”

ldodd@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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