From the first lie forward, there was a need to follow up every allegation and lead. Your "wild goose chase" reference is appropriate when the first 48 to 72 hours were spent trying to track down a non-existent boyfriend.I believe there were resources used unnecessarily. Can we say wild goose chase? My opinion of course.
The recent case in Cleveland, OH shows that families have to remain hopeful when a loved one disappears. Not every victim of an abduction is murdered but the odds of survival are very slim. I know the Ohio case gives parents like the Bobos and Spierers hope their missing daughters are still alive, somewhere. In too many cases it gives false hope. Until remains are found and positively identified can loved ones grieve and move on.
I tend to believe the intent in this case, from the beginning, was to create doubt a death had taken place. If it hadn't been for the time of year and and an attentive passerby, chances are the kudzu could have hidden the remains for years, if not forever. The children would have been given the false hope that their mother chose to leave them, but was still alive enjoying her "new life". A case like the Pennsylvania woman who did leave willingly but was recently found in Florida would have led credence to the lies intended for this case. A big difference is, in that case, the divorcing husband was cleared early on with his cooperation and passing a lie detector test.
With all the missing young women and children in this country, the Ohio case is one that parents and family will cling to. Whether it is false hope or not, at least there's hope.
Sadly, Karen's children have no hope their mother will miraculously reappear some day. Her life was taken from them and LE believes there is only one person responsible for the murder. Some day the truth will come out. It will allow the family relief in knowing the perp didn't get away with it.
Justice for Karen, her children and her Johnson family.