Thirteen-year-old Scott Fandel and his eight-year-old sister, Amy Fandel, disappeared from their Sterling, Alaska, home during the early morning hours of September 5, 1978, and have not been seen since.
On September 4, 1978, Margaret Fandel picked up her sister, Kathy, at the airport. Kathy came to Alaska for work. She and Margaret were going to save money to move back to Illinois with Margaret’s kids, Scott, 13, and Amy, 8.
Around 9:30 p.m., Margaret drove Kathy to Kenai to meet with friends and left the children home alone. The sisters returned home at 1:30 a.m.
Some reports say that Scott, Amy, Margaret, and Kathy went to a bar and restaurant called Good Time Charlie’s in Sterling, Alaska. The women took the kids home around 10:00 p.m. and returned to the bar.
Scott and Amy went next door to visit their neighbors, the Luptons, after being dropped off by their mother. The siblings were friends with the Lupton children. It is unclear what time the children left the Lupton home that night.
A neighbor drove by the cabin at 11:45 p.m. and noticed the lights were on.
Margaret and Cathy returned to the cabin between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. The lights were off, and a pot of boiling water was on the stove. A box of macaroni and a can of tomatoes sat next to it.
Both women went to bed without checking on the children. They assumed that the kids were at the Luptons until the Lupton children showed up at Margaret’s cabin after school on the 5th, inquiring about Scott and Amy’s absence from school. Scott and Amy did not stay overnight at their home on the 4th.
Despite a search for the children, they were never found.
The children resided with their mother, Margaret, in a secluded cabin south of Sterling. Roger Fandel, Margaret’s former husband, left his family in January 1978 and moved to Arizona.
Roger is the biological father of Amy and stepfather to Scott. Roger helped raise Scott since the teenager was two years old and considered him his son.
Theories abound in this case, but the most popular one is that Roger Fandel kidnapped the children for whatever reason. Some believe Amy is still alive, but something presumably happened to Scott after the alleged abduction.
Marx, John. “Q-C Woman Whose Kids Disappeared 24 years ago Never Stops Searching”. The Dispatch, August 1, 2002.
True Crime Diva’s Thoughts
I’m not sure what to think here. It’s too easy to say that Roger kidnapped the children. He left Margaret and the children in January 1978, nine months before their disappearance, and moved to Arizona. I think it would have been easy for police to check if he had, in fact, left Arizona around September 5th. Why would he wait 9 months to take them? If he did, why is it believed that something bad happened to Scott? Roger and Scott were very close, so it seems odd that Roger would have hurt him.
I find a few things troubling here:
- Margaret did not check on her children when she returned home from the bar. You did not see your kids after you dropped them off at 10 pm, and you don’t check when you get home? That’s the first thing I would have done when I got home. Sorry, but it’s true, especially when there is an 8-year-old in the home.
- Whoever took the kids knew Margaret was at the bar and would not return home anytime soon, other than to drop them off. Margaret claimed she and Cathy returned to the cabin between 2 am and 3 am. The water in the pot was boiling, which means the kids possibly disappeared not too long before the women walked through the door. At 11:45 pm, the lights were on. If the kids were home at this time, whoever took them had from that point on until the women got home – roughly 2-3 hours – to take the children, yet they did so right before the women got home?
- Why wasn’t Margaret concerned about the lights being off or the boiling water? Didn’t she find those things odd? The boiling water would have got me more than the lights off, though.
- There were no signs of a struggle in the cabin, which means the kids probably knew the person or persons who took them.
- Margaret’s family was quick to place blame on Roger without any solid evidence supporting that theory. Why do they think Roger did it? He was the one who chose to move completely away from the kids. What was his motive? If Amy’s alive and was raised by Roger, why haven’t they found her? Why hasn’t anyone come forward (other than his family) saying they saw her with Roger?
- Why, on a school night, did Roger and Amy go to the Luptons after 10 pm? What on earth were the Lupton kids doing up that late on a school night, and why did the Luptons agree to have Scott and Amy over? Moreover, what in the heck was Scott doing up at 2 am cooking macaroni? Could something have happened at the Lupton’s and the scene at the cabin staged?
What about someone at Good Time Charlie’s? They would have seen the children when they were there with Margaret and Cathy. Population-wise, the area is small and remote, so the person was either local or known only to Margaret.
Speaking of Good Time Charlie’s – it’s a freaking strip joint. It sounds like it was in 1978, so why the hell would you take your kids there? Reports call it a bar and restaurant. Hmm, okay. Want some fries with your lap dance? 😉