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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa • Page 20
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa • Page 20

Des Moines, Iowa
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oB DES MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER Aug. 1 1, 1985 Parents believe Eugene is still alive, follow every lead on whereabouts REGISTER PHOTO BY DOUG WELLS 1 tli i A Wfttf iAtfi ffii.v.v II- ri ster he can win a prize if he sells more newspapers. Also in the mail, Eugene's report card arrives although he hasn't been in school the entire year. It says he's never been late or absent. It's a computer foul-up, a school official explains, and promises it won't happen again. At the supermarket, the Martins spot a man in a car who looks like a police sketch. The drawing was made from descriptions of people who were in the area where the boy disappeared. The Martins follow the car, watch the occupant step into a truck, and follow again but lose the vehicle. In the freezer, a near-year-old donated sheet cake with Gene's portrait in the icing, stares from its cardboard box. "It's for Gene when he comes home. He is going to be the first to have a bite," says Don Martin, who believes his son is alive. The boy vanished five days before bis Aug. 17 birthday. At a shopping center, Martin sees a screaming youngster led away by two adults. "I start thinking evil things. Are they snatching this kid?" There's no apparent cause for alarm. "I never used to think that way," he says. Janice Martin, Gene's mother, says she and Gene's sister and two brothers who live with her in Des Moines will have a small birthday cake. "He's still alive in our hearts," she says. After 13 years of marriage, Janice and Don were divorced one year before Gene disappeared. "What the family goes through is Continued from Page IB Southwest Fourteenth Street and Highview Drive folding the Des Moines Sunday Register when someone, investigators suspect, abducted him. No Signs of Violence There were no signs of violence, no traces of what happened that Aug. 12, 1984, morning; only silence and a yellow carrier bag left behind with eight folded newspapers and a bundle of unfolded papers nearby. Almost two years earlier on Sept 5, 1982, 12-year-old newspaper carrier Johnny Gosch was apparently abducted, this time from a West Des Moines street corner about seven miles away. There were startling similarities although investigators have been unable to link the cases: Both carriers left their darkened homes and went into the peaceful predawn morning to deliver the Sunday newspaper a few blocks away and disappeared. Today, after marsive hunts have failed to uncover a trace of either youngster, the mystery continues. It has left the Martins in a frustrating limbo. They are unable to move ahead with the search or retreat to their own lives. There is little tangible information to pursue or room for a momentary escape. The reminders are everywhere: In the mail, they still get promotional material addressed to Gene from The Register telling the young as It Is go for If you budget, Ideal And scooter account, controls Sue and Donald Martin sit near the computer they use to keep records on leads in the paper drop in the south-side neighborhood. Six witnesses told police they saw a man near the boy. They described him as 30 to 40 years old, about 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, medium-build, medium-length hair and clean shaven. Police said the accounts were too vague to look for a suspect. There were foot searches of river-banks and parks. A dozen police officers boarded garbage trucks and went down south-side streets tearing into hundreds of garbage cans and sacks looking for clues. In a wide area around where the youngster disappeared, investigators went door to door. About 60 men, many with long criminal records who had been interrogated in the Gosch case, were questioned again. The FBI brought in 16 agents and a computer to collect the information. Within two weeks, the leads had dwindled dramatically, and it was becoming apparent that, like the Gosch case, the Martin case had the appearances of being impenetrable, despite occasionally hopeful tips. In December, police searched the freezing Chariton River near Iowa Highway 2 three miles east of Center-ville. Earlier, a Centerville school teacher said that shortly after Martin disappeared he saw a man walking down the river bank near the bridge holding in his arms a youngster who looked like Martin. The river was probed but nothing was found. Police decline to say what they think happened to Martin, although privately some investigators speculate the boys were taken by the same person, molested and slain. Believed Alive Hewitt of the Center for Missing Children believes Martin and Gosch are alive. "If they were taken for sexual purposes and killed, I think the bodies would have been discarded in the woods or on the ground somewhere I and found. I have interviewed several children who were abducted by strangers who turned up years later. "Most children become quickly attached to their abductors who usually take them for sexual experiences. The child feels it's his fault about what happened to him and the abductor has instilled in him that his parents don't want him or don't love him. They begin to think, 'If mom and dad want me, why can't they find The abductor, Hewitt says, has "complete control" to the point where some children see their pictures on posters or on television and don't contact authorities. Would the same abductor take two boys? Hewitt says it isn't likely but, then, the cases may not be connected. Says Don Martin, "We would just like to have whoever is responsible let us know where Gene is at. If he's dead we would like to give him a decent burial. We could care less who this person is. Maybe he could show a shred of decency." on a spree $390.00 need to got around town on a limited the Hondo Spree wos built for you It's for commuting toand from work or school because It's the lowest priced Honda you con buy. It's Ideal for your bank too. Plus, Its peppy 49cc engine, tow maintenance requirements and easy to use make It as easy to ride end maintain WIS. the disappearance of son Eugene. vestigator fees, they say. There isn't much left "People have been super," says Martin. "They have wanted to help." Private Effort Unlike Johnny Gosch's parents, Noreen and John Gosch, who have made frequent appearances on network television, the Martins have searched off camera and mostly on their own. They have infrequent contacts with the Gosches, and have appeared on programs together to discuss missing children. "I think the Gosches have done a lot for missing children," Sue Martin says of the Gosches' lectures and lobbying for legislation. "But I think sometimes they have offended people and come on too strong. I wasn't raised like that. We can't do that. We need the help of everyone." Johnny's and Gene's pictures appear together on thousands of posters, some of them now yellow with age. The Martins have distributed their own posters, which show a school picture of the brown-haired youngster in a plaid shirt. The posters ask that "any information" be phoned to the Martin home (515-287-7042). "We are particularly interested in talking to any witnesses for the Police Department, as their information is confidential and they will not let us talk with these people," the posters say. The message underlies the bitterness the Martins hold for the police. "They don't know what they are supposed to do," Don Martin says. "They know bow to handle an armed robbery or a fight but when it comes to missing children they don't know." "The answers that would break this case wide open are laying on some police officer's desk. They are not using the information." Police Praised Janice Martin, however, praises the police. "They have done all they can and it's been a super job." Police Chief William Moulder says, "We still maintain our regular contacts with the family. The fact that Don and Sue Martin have a very different opinion of the case is a very normal state of affairs. We haven't found their kid and that's what they pay us for. "I'm not ashamed of the investigation. I'm proud of its quality and the scope of it. I don believe any law enforcement agency could have done better." With few leads now and the official investigation slowed to a crawl, the nagging question remains: What happened to Eugene Martin? Between 5:15 and 5:45 a.m. on that warm August morning, Martin was at In Gene's empty bedroom Sue has set up "the command post," a room crammed with the computer, posters, file drawers and ledgers. Gene's belongings have been put in storage in the garage. List of Leads Inside the computer are 1,656 names compiled by Des Moines private investigator John P. Dolan, who was hired by the Martins earlier. There are the names of known sex offenders, psychics, people who said they saw Gene, police officers, reporters, public officials and others touched by the case. The list grows whenever the Martins come across a new name. Before the tragedy, Martin rarely spoke his mind and buried his emotions. He says he has been that way since he was young. The reticence continued long after Gene was gone. Then Sue said she was ready to leave him because he wouldn't talk. In October Martin and his wife sat down and talked. "He bawled like a baby," she says. Martin was given a leave of absence from his maintenance job at an apartment complex a few months after Gene was gone. A supervisor, who asked that his name not be used, said Martin was a good worker but "was distracted." After being unemployed for months, Martin recently went to work as a maintenance man at the Younkers' warehouse. The Martins collected more than $10,000 from rummage sales and donations and have poured all of it back into the search. A lot of it went for in- horrendous, says Gary Hewitt, executive director of the Center for Missing Children, Rochester, N. Y. "When a child is missing people gather and say, 'Don't worry, your child will be back That's what you want to hear. But as soon as that doesn't happen, the family becomes suspect. People start saying, 'OK, what did you do with your It's really devastating. "There's no finalization. They wonder when do they go back to work, how many times can they circle the block looking for the child, how many license plate numbers can they write down. On top of it there's the feeling of guilt, that they did something wrong to cause it." Every family, says Hewitt, wants to know if the child is dead or alive. Other children in the family are neglected. "They want mom and dad back again. There's no family activity. There's no time for the family to heal." A year of searching has shaped Don and Sue Martin into people they wouldn't have recognized earlier. Before Gene disappeared, the Martins were "gone all the time." Now they stay home and near the Don Martin says "is eventually going to ring with the answers." Sue Martin, who has a daughter, Shawna, 6, and a son, Donnie, 17, who live her and Don, is wary of strangers. "If somebody came into the yard and I didn't know them I wouldn't hesitate to shoot." 32 added to list Thirty-two names were added to last week's list of Iowa missing persons, according to records of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. The list includes 193 persons, 43 of whom are adults and ISO of whom are juveniles. The names are divided into five categories: disabled, who are people with mentafor physical disabilities; endangered, who are people leaving voluntarily and believed to be with dangerous persons; involuntary, who are known or suspected kidnap victims; juvenile, who are usually runaways; parental kidnap, who are children taken by relatives; and lost, who are children who have wandered away. Here are the names, ages, dates of disappearance, the law enforcement agencies reporting the disappear- to pay for. 4MSf Bawd upon mggej'ed retail pflce. GOOD SUPPLY! Electric Start Easy to Load Great for Camping No motorcycle license needed with valid operator's license Street legal for 14 IS year olds with moped permit. HONDA TOWN "We've been selling servicing Hondas for 19 years." 1601 luclld Avenue TOil nil l-tOO-JJI-SJOt Dm MoIms, I Ml 13 of missing ances, and the categories for last week's new entries on the state list: Martha Adley, 14, Aug. 3, Davenport poMca, lu-venile; JIM E. Andreano, IS, Aug. 3, Des Moines, luvenlle: Thomas S. Bell, 14, Jury 29, Council Bluffs, juvenile; Calhy Bradley, IS, Aug. 3, Davenport, iu-ivenile; Jon E. Brown, 17, July 29, Council Bluffs, juvenile; Anthony D. Burrier, July 21, Linn County sheriff, parental kidnap; Julie Carmaman, 14, Aug. 3, Indlanoia, juvenile; William R. Cary, 16, Aug. 1, Davenport, juvenile; Cindy Cavrot, It, Aug. 3, Cedar Rapids, kivertile; Rebecca A. Day, li, Aug. Waterloo, luvenlle; Edith S. George, 32, Aug. 3, Iowa State Patrol at Spencer, Invokmtarv; Becky S. Hansen, 17, July 31, Sioux City, kivenile; Thomas D. Harvey, le, Aug. 2, Des Moines, luvenlle; Darren P. Hockabout, It, Aug. 3, MIN County, juvenile; John Isley, 17, July 31, Knoxville, lost; Diane Liendo, It, Aug. 2, Davenport, luvenlle; James Lindner, 13, June 2t, Sioux City, luvenlle; Drew E. McLaughlin, 21, July 30, Clarlnda State Menial Health Inilllute, disabled; Billy J. Mortimer, 24, Aug. 1, Burlington, disabled; William J. Mortimer, 2, July 1, Burlington, endangered; Chriitina Moilngo, 15, July 1, Cedar Rapids, luvenlle; Cindy Nickel, 15, Aug. 3, Indianola, juvenile; Christina Null, 15, Aug. 3, Indianola, luvenlle; Lisa M. Plrkl, It, July 31, Des Moines, luvenlle; Kevin C. Porth, 17, Aug. 2, Iowa City, juvenile; Kenneth R. Preston, 15, July 31, Davenport, juvenile; Roberto B. Reyes, It, July 29, Iowa City, luvenlle; Kim Richmond, 23, July 30, Cedar Rapids, disabled; Darren Swisher, 13, Aug. 4, MarshaHlown, juvenile; Robert J. Thede, 13, Aug. 3, Benton County, luvenlle; Stacy L. Vandamme, 14, July 10, Coralvllle, luvenlle; Dus-tln T. Williams, 17, July 30, Council Bluffs, juvenile. 'JEN W3i Free 50 hh rTTTT Winterset man, 71, shoots self in head A 71-year-old rural Winterset man accidentally shot himself in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun Saturday afternoon, Madison County sheriffs deputies said. Garland Cook was rushed by Life Flight helicopter to Iowa Methodist Medical Center, where he was in serious condition early today. The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m. at the victim's home. A sheriff's department dispatcher said the shooting was termed accidental because "he was not the type of man who would shoot himself." 1985 air staff. We're celebrating 60 years of radio Low Prices Large Frame Selection Trained Opticians Free Adjustments One Year Glasses Guarantee Off Lenses 1925 Program anniversary K-M R-Oft AM Qi'rm On CMi'U reminiscing Now thru August 24, order complete pair of prescription glasses and all types of lenses Including single vision, bifocal and even trifocal are half the regular price. Scratch-resistant protective coating and other specialty Items available at nominal cost. 'Guarantee: broken glasses repaired or replaced at no charge for one year. No other discounts apply. Shenandoah, Iowa Schedule for August 12th our will feature former air personalities along with current Daily Wear S49.50 Tinted Spherical dally wear $99.50 6:00 AM KMA News (Dean Naven) 6:15 AM RFD 960 (Jack Gowing) 7:00 AM KMA News (Naven) 7:15 7:30 AM KMA Weather (Jim Ross Lightfoot) 7:30 AM Paul Harvey 7:35 PM KMA Sports (Tape from Warren Swain and Mac McDonald) AM KMA Weather and News (Naven) 8:00 AM News. Sports Hiwlin Performers from 1940s Soft Contact Lenses Include! ML. DureSott, CI6A and American Hydrun. Includtt SSL. CIBA and CTL Chem-care kits included at ,10 extra cost and torlcs, bifocals and other specialty lenses available at nominally higher prices. AM'PaulHarvev 11:20 PM Markets, News 12:15 PM Weather (Ed May and Ed May, Jr.) 12:30 PM Midwest Farmer (Tom Beavers and Steve Hoefine) KMA News, Weather, Sports, 1 Markets 1:30 PM Tapes of Earl May, Frank Field, Ralph Childs, from 30s, '40s and more (Warren Nielson) AIRN News, Sports 6:10 PM Royals vs. Boston Baseball 9:30 Mid. Ola Time Radio Programs from the '40s and '50s like "Ozzie Harriett," "Life of Riley," "Lone Ranger," and mnro 8:20 8:45 AM Tape of Music 8:45 9:00 AM Community Calendar, Focus 9:00 AM Billie Oakley Show (with voices from former KMAhomemakers) 10:00 AM (Special) Kitchen Hatter Show Southrldge Mall 285-0857 Merle Hay Mall 276-1604 Offices throughout Iowa Open All Day Saturday and Sunday Mall Hours INSURANCE PLANS ACCEPTED 10:35 AM Elephant Shop (formerly on KMA) "v'v' mmm V. i we a.

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