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There is a ton of information on this case, with some articles going farther in-depth than I chose to go. I decided to stick to the basics of the case.
So, here’s what I have to say about it.
I find it a little strange that Johnny was able to leave his home without his parents knowledge. His dad should have been up and ready to go with him, as he always had done so in the past. Why wasn’t he ready on this day?
I definitely believe that Johnny was kidnapped, but whether or not it was to be sold into a pedophile ring, I’m not sure. I think it makes the most sense as to why he was abducted, and the sighting in Oklahoma of Johnny with two men show that it is definitely a possibility, I’m just not convinced that’s what happened here.
I think whoever kidnapped Johnny had to be watching him and his house for a while prior to the abduction, because how would he know Johnny delivered the paper and would be leaving early on a Sunday? How did the kidnapper know his dad wasn’t going to be with him? Was the dad involved?
It bothers me a bit that Johnny asked to go on this route himself when he never had been allowed to before. I am assuming, of course, that this really happened. Why all of a sudden did he want to go alone? I realize he was 12 and I’m sure he thought he was big enough and could handle it, but it’s just strange. The fact that he went alone even though his parents told him no makes me wonder – was he planning on meeting someone on his route? Maybe someone he ran into before who promised him money for a job or something, I don’t know. I’m reaching, I am aware, but it’s just weird that the ONE time he went by himself, he was kidnapped. It does make you wonder about his father, John Sr. Did he set up his own son’s kidnapping? Some people believe he was involved in it and the pedophile ring. He certainly hasn’t been as active as Noreen in the search for Johnny. Nothing would surprise me.
It’s interesting about what the witnesses said they saw. On IowaColdCases.org, it talks about a conversation between Johnny and the driver, witnessed by other paperboys.
In a November 11, 2010 interview — the day before Johnny would have celebrated his 41st birthday — Johnny’s mother Noreen Gosch told WHO-TV Channel 13’s Aaron Brilbeck that several other paper boys, all witnesses to the abduction, said Johnny was approached by a man driving a blue Ford Fairmont.
“The guy shut off his engine, opened the passenger door and swung his feet out on the curb right where the boys were assembling their newspapers. And he started talking about where’s 86th street?” Ms. Gosch told Brilbeck. “Johnny turned to Mike and said, ‘I’ve got my papers loaded in the wagon. I’m scared. I’m getting out of here. I’m gonna head home.’”
As Johnny left, the driver of the car took off, too, the boys told police.
“The man pulled the door shut and started up the engine, but before he left he reached up and flicked the dome light three times. Then he pulled out and left,” Ms. Gosch said.
Some reports say Johnny was the one giving the man directions, but this report doesn’t mention that. Why would a guy asking for directions scare Johnny to the point he wasn’t going to finish his route? And if he truly was scared, why didn’t he just stay with the boys where he would have been safer than walk home all alone?
What happened to Johnny after he walked away is a bit unclear. I have read reports that do not mention this at all, and I have read some that say witnesses saw two men grab Johnny and hold him down in the back seat of a Ford Fairmont before the car sped away. Where did the two men come from? The paperboys didn’t mention seeing them when the driver stopped and asked for directions. And where did the actual abduction take place? Let’s say that there were 3 men involved. This doesn’t make sense to me because there are only two composite sketches that were released – the one of the driver of the Fairmont and the other one of “Tony”. Where is the composite sketch of the 3rd kidnapper? Was it Paul Bonacci?
This case makes me dizzy.
If it was a pedophile ring, wouldn’t more boys have disappeared during this time from this area? There were only 3 that I am aware of – Johnny in 1982, Eugene Martin in 1984, and Marc James-Warren Allen in 1986. It is the opinion of this author that all three cases are related.
As I was reading through Johnny’s website, something caught my eye. Well, actually a couple of pictures. See below. The one on the left is of an unidentified boy who Noreen is hoping someone will identify one day. The picture in the middle is Johnny Gosch after he was taken, according to Noreen. The picture on the right is of Timothy David Martin Cox who was arrested in 2007 for running an Internet chat room that was part of a pedophile ring.
Is it my imagination or could this be the SAME person? Look at their eyes and noses! The boys are very similar in appearance to Cox. Now Wikipedia says Cox was born in 1979 and had been living with his parents, sister, and 26-year-old girlfriend. So, I don’t know, but I can’t get over how much Cox looks like the boys in these pictures. Also, we have no idea when the first two pics were taken. The boy on the left looks to be around 10. I’m just guessing. Cox would have been 10 in 1989. You never know.
Now, look at the pics below. The first one (left) shows a school pic of Johnny before he disappeared. The one on the right is the same one above, supposedly of Johnny after he was taken.
I do not believe that is Johnny on the right. These two boys look nothing alike at all. Johnny has freckles splashed across his nose, but the other boy does not. Johnny’s hair is darker. The nose on the boy on the right is different than Johnny’s, too. Johnny’s bottom lip appears fuller than the boy’s on the right. The overall shape of Johnny’s face is different than the other boy. Also, it appears Johnny had a small gap between his two front teeth. The kid on the right doesn’t have one.
Now, look at another pic below. The one on the left is the unidentified boy Noreen hopes to identify someday. The one on the left is another pic of Johnny AFTER his abduction, again, according to his mother.
To me, they are the same boy. He’s just a tad bit older in the pic on the right. The eyes and the nose are what gets me. I do think the boy on the left bears a striking resemblance to Cox. But I don’t believe for one second that the boy on the right in the red sweat pants is Johnny.
Did Johnny really visit his mother in 1997? What was the point of the visit if he couldn’t come home for good? If you feared it was a very dangerous situation to go home for good, then why would you take the chance on a short visit? And why has he not returned since? Noreen had said that Johnny managed to escape his captors to come visit her. Well, he was around 27 years old then. In my opinion, his captors would have thought he was too old at that point and could very well have killed Johnny before he turned 25. I don’t believe he would have remained with his captors at that age.
Noreen said that she knew immediately it was Johnny, but in some interviews she stated his appearance had been altered via plastic surgery. So, how would she know immediately that this man was her son?
About five years ago, the internet was rampant with rumors that American conservative columnist, Jeff Gannon, was really Johnny Gosch. But if you compare pics of Johnny to Gannon, there really isn’t that much of a similarity. I think people are so desperate to find Johnny that they grab on to any theory that comes their way. And no, I don’t buy that he had plastic surgery.
If you really want to read more in-depth info on this pedophile ring, Google “The Franklin Cover-Up”.
UPDATE: 9/11/16: Last night I watched the documentary, Who Took Johnny? on Netflix. I thought maybe it would help me understand this case better, but nope. I still feel the same. I feel like Johnny was targeted because there were other boys in that area on their paper routes, yet Johnny was the one the guy in the car kept talking to. He was the one who was abducted. Why Johnny? Why not one of the other boys?
I loved that John Gosch, Sr. was on there. However, I felt he came across as just a normal guy in an interview, not a father whose son is missing and has been missing for over 30 years. He has never believed the pics sent to Noreen were of Johnny. He and I are in agreement there.
It does appear that the police and FBI have never wanted to investigate this case, which I think is pure bullshit. You have a job to do assholes, so just freaking do it. What good are you if you don’t?
If you haven’t watched the documentary, please do. It was very good and tastefully done. I am so glad they didn’t include the Jeff Gannon crap in it.