Saturday, December 22, 2012

AN OPINION ON GUN CONTROL

     In the wake of the horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last week there has been a wave of emotion-based cries for a national "discussion".  Many have called for stricter gun control laws.  Fortunately, there are rational voices making a compelling case for a more fact-based, reality-centered, practical approach.

     I highly recommend this essay by Larry Correia, a former gun-store owner and concealed carry instructor.

AN OPINION ON GUN CONTROL

    The article is rather long, but addresses all of the various arguments in favor of gun control one-by-one.  Here are some key excerpts:

The single best way to respond to a mass shooter is with an immediate, violent response. The vast majority of the time, as soon as a mass shooter meets serious resistance, it bursts their fantasy world bubble. Then they kill themselves or surrender. This has happened over and over again.
Permit holders are not cops. The mistake many people make is that they think permit holders are supposed to be cops or junior danger rangers. Not at all. Their only responsibility is simple. If someone is threatening to cause them or a third person serious bodily harm, and that someone has the ability, opportunity, and is acting in a manner which suggest they are a legitimate threat, then that permit holder is allowed to use lethal force against them.
Clint Smith once said if you look like food, you will be eaten. Criminals are looking for prey. They are looking for easy victims. If they wanted to work hard for a living they’d get a job. So when you pull a gun, you are no longer prey, you are work, so they are going to go find somebody else to pick on.

     I've speculated before about what might have been different on October 2, 2008, the day that Jack Gordon went missing, if he had been armed.  The 78-year-old Gordon was undoubtedly an "easy victim" that day, though I like to think he put up some type of resistance.  I suspect that one day the criminal who killed Jack Gordon will run into a "victim" who is not so "easy".  As Wayne LaPierre of the NRA said in his press conference yesterday,

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. 
(Transcript)

Monday, December 3, 2012

MUSICAL INTERLUDE- DIGGIN' UP BONES

Country singer Randy Travis had some thoughts regarding the Jack Gordon case in this hit song:


I'm diggin' up bones!
I'm diggin' up bones!
Exhuming things that's better left alone!


Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Behaviors of Missing Elderly People

From Project Jason comes this article about missing elderly, focusing on those with Alzheimer's or dementia (neither of which apply to Jack Gordon). 
Brad Dennis, Director of Search Operations for the KlaasKids Foundation, outlines typical behaviors exhibited by a missing person with Alzheimer or dementia:
• Usually (89%) found within one mile of the Point Last Seen (PLS), half found within 0.5 miles.
• Subject usually found a short distance from road (50% within 33 yards)
• Subject may attempt to travel to former residence or favorite place.
• Subject will not leave many physical clues.
• Will not cry-out for help (1%) or respond to shouts (only 1% response rate).
• Succumbs to the environment (hypothermia, drowning, and dehydration).
• They go until they get stuck.”
• Subject usually found in a creek, or drainage and/or caught in briars/bushes (63%)
• Leaves own residence or nursing home, possibly with last sighting on a roadway. May cross or depart from roads (67%).
• Coexisting medical problems that limit mobility are common.
• Has previous history of wandering (72%)
• They appear to lack the ability to turn around.
These patterns formed the basis of our initial searching for Jack.  Since his vehicle was found at the home site, we focused on the area within 3/4 of a mile from the site.  Our initial thinking was that Jack had suffered a medical event of some kind.  Multiple searches over the next week did not turn up any sign of Jack. He did not turn up wandering along the road. He did not turn up at the local hospital.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Search and Rescue Team

     Based on the initial presumption that Jack Gordon had suffered some type of medical event, our first efforts focused on the immediate vicinity of the house on Luke Road, in rural Costilla County on the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley.
     Within about 36 hours of the time Jack was last seen, leaving his apartment in Fort Garland to drive out to the homesite on Luke Road, Costilla County Search and Rescue was on the scene. On Friday October 3, 2008 a general area quadrant search was undertaken by several team members on ATV's and on horseback, covering about a one mile circular perimeter centered on Jack's homesite. The searchers focused on roadways and trails, not much off road searching was done. No trace of Jack was found.
     On Sunday, October 5, 2008 a close interval line search was carried out by about 30-40 volunteers under the direction of the SAR team covering a radius of about 1/3 mile without results.
     On Monday, October 6, 2008 an air tracker dog team was brought in and performed a search for about a 1/4 mile perimeter. No trace of Jack was found away from the house.  Individual searches were also carried out on two other five acre properties that Jack owned in the area, with no trace.
     These satellite views from Google Earth mapping services show the general area of the events. For a wider perspective, check here.
    
     On this map, the dark red square is an approximation of Jack's five-acre property, the pink inner circle is the area covered by the close interval search, and the lighter outer circle is the approximate perimeter covered by the general area search (one mile radius from Jack's place).

     The second pushpin is the house of Jack's neighbor John, who was mentioned in the original police report. That house is just over 1/2 mile from Jack's house. Oddly enough, the neighbor John has not been seen in the Fort Garland area since the day Jack disappeared.  His mother told the Sheriff that he moved out of the state. We don't know if the Sheriff ever contacted him.  We don't know if he knows anything about that day.


ORIGINALLY POSTED 6/15/2012
RE-POSTED 11/21/2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jack Gordon- Brief Biographical Profile

Jack Nels Gordon
1/07/1931 to 10/02/2008


Born in Ohio in 1931, Jack Gordon attended high school in Stow, Ohio along with his two brothers. He went on to Hiram College near Cleveland, where he played collegiate football. Throughout his life he worked in a wide variety of fields, ranging from business to youth ministry.

He was married three times, with a total of nine children. He had four daughters and a son with his first wife. He had two daughters with his second wife. Then, When he was in his early 70's he and his third wife had a daughter and a son.  At the time of his disappearance his youngest son and daughter were 4 and 5 years old respectively.

Jack didn't leave much of an internet footprint, although in 2006 he was inducted into the William H. Hollinger Athletic Hall of Fame (Hiram College), linked here.

For several years before his disappearance, Jack was essentially retired, although he always had various projects in mind. He was in the process of building a house on a five-acre lot in the Forbes Sangre de Cristo Ranches.  He also was working on a project called Thanksgiving Hill College, a self-accredited curriculum of religious studies for foreign students.


NEXT: The events of October 2, 2008, Police Incident Report


ORIGINALLY POSTED 6/11/2012
REPOSTED 11/8/2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Lay of the Land- Part 1


Let's gradually zoom in on the scene of the events in question, using Google Earth mapping services.

Jack Gordon disappeared on October 2, 2008 in Costilla County in south central Colorado about 80 miles north of Taos NM, 30 miles east of Alamosa CO and 50 miles west of Walsenburg CO.


Located in south central Colorado, the San Luis Valley is a high mountain plain bounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the east and the San Juan Mountains on the west. The valley comes to its northern apex at Poncha Pass just south of Salida. At its southern end the valley merges into northern New Mexico.

 Alamosa is the largest town in the Valley.  Highway 160 traverses the San Luis Valley from La Veta pass in the east to Wolf Creek Pass in the west. Costilla County is the southeasternmost of the five counties in the San Luis Valley.

The northeastern part of Costilla county contains the subdivided Forbes Ranch, including the Sangre de Cristo Ranches.

The Ranches are traversed by a dense network of dirt roads and are comprised of several thousand five-acre ranchette lots. One of these lots is the site of Jack Gordon’s home building site on Luke Road.  This is the general setting of the Mysterious Disappearance...







ORIGINALLY POSTED 6/7/2012
RE-POSTED 10/29/2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fort Garland man missing since Oct. 2

When Jack Gordon disappeared in 2008 there was no television news coverage. There were no satellite trucks with reporters doing live feeds. There were no somber faced talking heads reading the spine-chilling details on the six o'clock news.  There were just a few short paragraphs (here) in the Alamosa Valley Courier published almost a week after his disappearance.
Costilla County Sheriff information officer Sgt. James Chavez confirmed that Jack Gordon, 77, has not been seen since approximately 9:30 a.m. Oct. 2, near Fort Garland. Chavez said over the last three days the search for Gordon has included elements of the Costilla County search and rescue unit and rescue dogs from Fort Carson.
The whole report was succinct, with not much in the way of facts.  Within a short time the mystery would deepen.
[Sgt.] Chavez said that as of Wednesday morning, Oct. 8 the investigation has not involved the FBI or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. There is no evidence of foul play at this time, said Chavez
No foul play?  We shall see.

(ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 5, 2012)
(REPOSTED OCTOBER 25, 2012)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

JACK GORDON- IN HIS OWN WORDS

Today, on the 4th anniversary of Jack Gordon's disappearance, I will let him speak for himself, in his own words.


LIFE FOREVER

The dawn of my last sunrise
the evening of my last sunset

The moment I put away my last breath,
quietly, unseen by the world, cradled in the arms
of His grace, I depart my earthly home.

Death does not end my existence,
it sets me free from mortality and sin.

My earthly presence, ordained by God,
the meaning and purpose of my life,
has an eternal destiny.

Now, the deepest longing in my heart,
groanings beyond words,
will be fulfilled.

God, my Holy Father, we love each other.
Christ, my Lord and Savior, we love each other.

All is pure, unbroken, never ending.
The life worth living, now and forever.


Jack Nels Gordon
Author

©2004-J.N. Gordon


Rest In Peace
Jack Nels Gordon
Born- January 7, 1931
Deceased- October 2, 2008

Saturday, September 29, 2012

SNEAK PEAK AT ELECTION BALLOT

We've obtained a preliminary copy of the 2012 Presidential Election Ballot in its new format. This is not yet available on regular news sites:



Friday, September 28, 2012

JIMMY HOFFA'S BODY FOUND??

Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa subject of new Detroit search- BBC News

Police said they had been informed a body was buried under the driveway.

But their tipster did not say if it was Hoffa's body that was interred there.
Police say they are looking for a body but play down suggestions that Hoffa could be buried there, citing timeline discrepancies.
Well, if they don't turn up Mr. Hoffa's remains, perhaps someone should drop a dime, call the Costilla County Sheriff's office and tell them Jimmy Hoffa's body is buried on Luke Road in Costilla County. Maybe a real search would be carried out!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

THE EVENTS OF 10/02/2008

     Up until now, this blog has attempted to tell the story of Jack Gordon's mysterious disappearance on October 2, 2008 in broad strokes.  There is a limited paper trail.  A small handful of news reports and the original sheriff's incident report are the main reference sources.  There are, however, other sources of information and we can try to fill in some of the gaps in the story from first-hand accounts and see if we can pick out any useful details. 

   I'd like to start with a timeline of that day, as well as we can reconstruct it.

October 2, 2008
          8:00 a.m.-  Between 8:00 and 8:30 that morning one of Jack's neighbors sees him leaving his residence in Fort Garland, coffee cup in  hand bound for his home site on Luke Road for the morning.
          8:30 a.m.-  Jack leaves the apartment in Fort Garland in their white conversion van.
          8:40 a.m.-  One of the neighbors from Luke Road bumps into Jack at the Fort Garland post office and chats with him briefly. Nothing seems amiss.
          8:50 a.m.-  Jack stops in at the home of a local auto mechanic on Hwy 159 and speaks with him for a few minutes. He leaves at about 9:00 a.m.
          9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.- No reported contact with or sightings of Jack by any of the neighbors
          1:00 p.m.- Jack's wife starts to wonder why he is not back yet.
          2:00 p.m.-  Jack's wife calls the auto mechanic's home and speaks to his daughter asking if someone can drive out to the place on Luke Road and check on Jack.
          4:00 p.m.-  Jack's wife gets a ride with one of her Fort Garland neighbors the 10 miles out to Luke Road. The van is parked in its usual spot in the driveway, but there is no sign of Jack on or near the premises.
          4:30 p.m.- Jack's wife goes to one of the neighbor's nearby homes and calls the Sheriff's office. The dispatcher contacts Deputy Jacob Vigil to respond.
          5:00 p.m.- Deputy Vigil talks with Jack's wife at the scene and conducts a brief search of the house and vicinity.  He spots a single set of footprints that "went to the back of the house and around the other side and onto the road where I lost track."  He is unable to identify any distinct tire tracks on the road.  We think he tried to make contact with the neighbor John Busby during this time, but that is not specified in the incident report. He advises Jack's wife to contact him if she has not heard from Jack by 8:30 p.m. She returns to Fort Garland.
          7:30 p.m.- Jack's wife contacts me (as well as other family members to inform us that he is missing.
          8:30 p.m.- Jack's wife contacts Deputy Vigil, informing him she has not heard from Jack
          9:00 p.m.-  Deputy Vigil and a small group of neighbors search the area around the house on Luke Road on foot, with flashlights, find no trace of Jack.
          10:00 p.m.- Deputy Vigil speaks with Jack's wife in Fort Garland and advises her to contact the sheriff's office at 8:00 a.m. the next day if Jack has not turned up, so that Search and Rescue can be mobilized to join the search. On his way back to the Sheriff's office Deputy Vigil returns to the house of the neighbor John Busby (aka John Robert Fureigh) and attempts to contact him.  There is a chain across the driveway and there are no lights on at the house.
        
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS-
     1. Who made the single set of footprints?  Jack? One of the civilian searchers? Jack's wife?  Jack's killer?  Or perhaps Deputy Vigil (remember Winnie the Pooh and Piglet?)
     2. What happened during the time gap from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

COSTILLA COUNTY MANHUNT- UPDATE

   As we last reported, the Costilla County Sheriff's office was hot on the trail of a 5'6" 119 fugitive, Robel Turcios-Rodriguez, but had not yet re-captured him.  At that size, he probably 'slipped through the cracks!'  Now we hear that the man was spotted in neighboring Huerfano County, to the east of Costilla County.  Here's the report from the Valley Courier today ("Escapee Evades Valley").
"The search in Huerfano County for a jail escapee from Costilla County was scaled back Thursday after law enforcement officers couldn’t find the suspect."
   Nice!! I guess that's why I won't be at work today, I "scaled back" the search for my car keys after I couldn't find them.It gets even better. The Huerfano County sheriff also had this to say:
“There’s really no organized search right now until we get a good location on him.”
   Or to phrase it differently, we're not going to look for him until we locate him!!  Fortunately: 
“We do not believe he is confrontational. It appears he’s doing all he can to remain hidden. He wants to get away.”
   And doing a mighty fine job of it, by the looks of things. Hmmm...I guess the take-home message is this.  If you are going to live in or travel through Costilla or Huerfano counties, don't plan on being a crime victim. Or perhaps I should say, take measures to not be a crime victim.  If you believe in the old notion that "crime doesn't pay", just consider how little it pays to be a crime victim in Costilla County. I think John Robert Fureigh can rest a little easier.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

COSTILLA COUNTY MANHUNT

Reports out of Alamosa via the Valley Courier dated yesterday of a manhunt underway for an escaped fugitive.  Manhunt continues for escapee:

Escaped inmate Robel Turcios-Rodriguez, 26, remained on the loose in Costilla County on Monday as multiple local law enforcement agencies joined in a manhunt to bring him in...Turcios-Rodriguez is 5’6”, weighs 119 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes.
Additional information was provided about the fugitive:

Authorities stated Turcios-Rodriguez was not armed when he escaped
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Costilla County Sheriff's office.

COMMENT: It seems the Sheriff's team is eager to enlist the public's help as they vigorously pursue this behemoth of a desperado; all 5 feet 6 inches, 119 unarmed pounds of him.  Other fugitives in the area? Perhaps not so much...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

WELCOME TO FORT GARLAND

   Nestled against the base of Mount Blanca, tiny Fort Garland, Colorado sits at the intersection of US Highway 160 and Colorado State Highway 159.  Highway 160 is the main east-west route traversing the southern edge of Colorado from Springfield in the extreme southeast corner of the state through the San Luis Valley and across famous Wolf Creek Pass to Cortez in the far southwest.  Highway 159 heads south from Fort Garland to the Colorado-New Mexico border on the way to Taos.

  Although small, Fort Garland offers everything a wayfarer could possibly want. You can start your visit at the Visitor's Information Center.  Ask the attendants if they know about Jack Gordon and John Busby, some of the locals love to talk about Jack's disappearance.

   Gas, food, hardware and lodging are available. The 1st Stop and a Texaco station offer fuel ($3.69 a gallon for regular as of Labor Day weekend 2012).

   The Old Fort Market is a small, but surprisingly well supplied grocery store. The locals all shop for their hardware needs at the Post Comissary, an old-fashioned general store owned and operated by Matt and Bill Martinez.

   Del's Diner, The Old West Cafe and the Silver Sage Steakhouse offer home-style meals in a friendly setting.

  The Lodge motel and the Fort Garland Motel offer overnight lodging. For entertainment you can tour the original Fort Garland, once commanded by the legendary Kit Carson.  Or for the kids, there is an old west show at the White Mountain Trading Post, complete with horses and a bison.
  Fort Garland is the main service community for folks living in the Sangre de Cristo Ranches or the Forbes subdivisions (Trinchera Ranches, Forbes Park and Forbes Wagon Creek). Give it a look-see if you are in the area.  It may not be much of a destination, but it is a nice spot for a little stopover or a rest break on your way to or from other places such as the Great Sand Dunes or Taos, NM.
  This is where Jack Gordon was living while working on the construction of his home in the Sangre de Cristo Ranches, up until his disappearance on October 2, 2008. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"LUCKY" INDEED!!

Via Drudge today, this report out of Newberry Springs, CA, via CBSlocal.com, a Los Angeles area news affiliate:

Dog Brings Home Human Foot In Newberry Springs, Prompting Search For Remains

Apparently, the dog, named "Lucky", brought home a human foot. The search revealed more "remains" along the I-40 corridor.  Details in the article are sketchy.  Was it multiple parts of the same body? Or was it multiple parts of different bodies?

If Jack Gordon's body is ever discovered, it will probably be by pure happenstance rather than the astute investigative skills of the Costilla County Sheriff's office.  A random incident such as a hunter stumbling upon skeletal remains, a wild animal unearthing a bony remnant, a skeleton in a crawlspace found by firefighters in the aftermath of a house fire or perhaps a dog named "Lucky" bringing something home to his owner.  Could we be so lucky?!?


Sunday, September 2, 2012

BUZZWORD BINGO- DNC EDITION

Presenting
for your television viewing pleasure
This Week Only
BUZZWORD BINGO
(Limited DNC Edition)

Yes folks! It's the age-old Blame Game...exciting new home version.
Special edition prepared for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Fun for all ages!!

SAMPLE GAME CARD:




Rules:
     1. Each player receives a game card with a 5 X 5 grid
     2. Each square contains a name or description of a villain
     3. Players watch the Democratic National Convention
     4. Listen for speakers to blame somebody else for the awful state of the country
     5. If your card contains a square with that villain, mark off the square
             (You can use small coins as markers if you have any left)
     6. If you get five in a row either across, down or diagonally, shout out "Bingo!"
     7. If you get five in a row during a single speaker, shout "Yahtzee!!"
     8. If you get five in a row during a single sentence, shout "Triple Bingo Yahtzee!!!"
     9. YOU WIN!!
    10. All other players have to drink a shot of their current beverage
    11. Then clear off the cards, shuffle, and play again!
(UPDATE: The center "Bush" square if a free square, since that is a given)

Here is a sample blank game card, cut and paste, print and make up your own categories groups or even specific right-wing villains!

Monday, August 27, 2012

THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S SECRET

  The Costilla County Sheriff's office is the lead investigating agency in the disappearance of Jack Gordon.  Costilla County falls within the 12th Judicial District of Colorado. The District Attorney for the 12th District is David Mahonee.  Mahonee, a Democrat, replaced his former boss, Republican incumbent Peter Comar as DA in 2010.  Although term-limited in 2010, Comar is back in the race for the DA position this time around.
  The Valley Courier has published a recent article entitled "Prosecutor was once prosecuted", discussing some previously unknown aspects of Mr. Mahonee's past, including an auto theft conviction at age 21 that was pleaded down to a misdemeanor, subsequent sealing of those court records and the fact that Mahonee changed his last name from Huey to Mahonee at age 33 for reasons that he did not want to discuss:
"Huey, who was 21 at the time, was charged with auto theft, a felony that was ultimately reduced to misdemeanor unauthorized use of a vehicle. Mahonee, who changed his name from Huey in 1983, successfully requested that the 1971 record of his conviction be expunged last year."
  Mahonee maintains that his youthful indiscretions have no bearing on his performance as DA.  That may or may not be the case.  The fact remains that despite the circumstances of the simultaneous disappearance of Jack Gordon and John Robert Fureigh on October 2, 2008, despite the statement of former Costilla County Sheriff Gilbert Martinez about seeing a suspicious dark stain on the driveway of Fureigh's house on Luke Road, despite the statements of multiple neighbors that Fureigh was probably involved in Jack's disappearance, despite Fureigh's previous felony offenses...despite all of this Mr. Mahonee has repeatedly declined to issue a search warrant for the property of John Fureigh on Luke Road in Costilla County.
  Implying that youth is a valid excuse for criminal behavior, Mahonee is quoted in the Valley Courier article:
"It was a long time ago. I was young. I wasn’t a lawyer at the time. I hadn’t even been to college."
  Mr. Comar wondered if Mahonee could be an efffective DA, given this record, saying:
“Nevertheless do you want your DA to have any conviction under those circumstances? How is he to say to those before him accused of a felony that a misdemeanor is not available to them even though they may have made a mistake in their lives and want nothing more than the deference given to him? What can he say to those wanting to seal their records as he has availed himself of the process?"

  The Valley Courier added this insightful comment by Mr. Mahonee:

"[Mahonee]said he is the “poster child” for second chances and rehabilitation."

  John Fureigh might cheer this sentiment. Jack Gordon however, didn't get his second chance.

Friday, August 24, 2012

OUTDOOR NECESSITIES

     I was browsing through a large tool catalog (NorthernTool.com) today.  While flipping idly through the pages I ran across this item, actually for sale, categorized under "Trailers and Towing".  Now I have seen trailer hitch mount carriers for bicycles, motorcycles, wheelchairs, snow plows and all manner of clever uses.  And I have used all kinds of outdoor equipment while camping. This innovative item though, takes the prize for "Best Fusion of Camping Amenity and Trailer Hitch Apparatus". 

INTRODUCING: THE OFF ROAD COMMODE

I was curious about the "VIDEO ONLINE" button, so I checked it out and I think you should too (the video does not auto-start at the link- you'll have to click to play).

I can't decide which line I like best:
  1. Supports up to 500 lbs.
  2. Can get slippery when wet.
  3. Not for use when vehicle is in motion
Have a Seamus Day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

COLORADO MISSING PERSON- PAIGE BIRGFELD- 2007

     A week before the Fourth of July in 2007, Paige Birgfeld, a 34-year-old mother of three was reported missing from Grand Junction, CO.  The story garnered local and regional headlines throughout that summer and early fall.  Early evidence pointed toward possible fould play.  Her car was found torched in a local parking lot.  As reported in the Denver Post (Read more: Woman's disappearance baffles family, police) in 2007:

Sunday night, her red Ford Focus was found burning in an empty parking lot about 3 miles from her house.


Frank Birgfeld, who lives in Centennial, said the fire appeared to have been started inside the car, as if to destroy evidence.

"I can tell you that (police) never considered this a missing persons matter," Birgfeld said. "They were actively investigating this as much more."


Within a week, as the investigation unfolded it became evident that Ms. Birgfeld was not just a suburban "soccer mom". Again in the Denver Post (Read more: Secret life surprises kin, pals of missing woman) it was reported:  
Birgfeld's involvement with the escort service was a surprise to friends and family last week.


The list of possible suspects expanded from two ex-husbands to include a number of former clients of Birgfeld in her escort business.  By October 2007 a suspect had been named, but Birgfeld still was missing. Denver Post- (Suspect named in missing mom case).  In spite of extensive general and targeted searches over many months, no body was found in or around Grand Junction.  That changed in early 2012, when a hiker stumbled upon a human skeleton in a dry creek bed near Delta. The Denver Post continued the story (Read more: Remains of missing Mesa County mother Paige Birgfeld found in Delta County)
A hiker found skeletal remains of a woman at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday off U.S. Highway 50 in the Wells Gulch area in Delta County, about 30 miles southeast of Grand Junction and about 15 miles west of Delta.


To date, a final cause of death has not been determined and there has not been an arrest, but we who search for answers regarding Jack Gordon have learned a couple of important lessons from Paige Birgfeld's case. 
  1. Patience, persistence and time can be rewarded. 
  2. The desert will often cough up its secrets.

Rest in Peace
Paige Birgfeld
(April 27, 1973 - June 2007)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

IRISH TALES

Jack Gordon loved Irish folklore and tales. Here is one that he would have liked- paraphrased from "Tales of the Wicklow Hills" by Richard Marsh:

A Jew, a Hindu and an Irishman were hiking somewhere in Europe. Night fell and they were at risk of being without shelter. They knocked at the door of a nearby farmhouse and asked the farmer for shelter for the night.
"Sure, you're welcome to spend the night, but we only have two spare beds in the house, one of you will have to sleep in the barn."
   The Jew said, "No problem, I'll sleep in the barn." and off he went. A short time later there was a knock on the farmhouse door. It was the Jew, who said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but there's a pig in the barn and being Jewish, pig meat is forbidden..."
   The Hindu said, "No problem, I'll sleep in the barn."  The household settled down to sleep again, but there came another knock on the door. It was the Hindu, saying, "I'm sorry to bother everybody, but there is a cow in the barn, and as cows are sacred in our culture..."
   The Irishman said, "No problem, I'll go sleep in the barn."  Shortly after everybody had settled down again there came yet another knock on the door.
   It was the pig and the cow.

Monday, August 13, 2012

RECAP AND SUMMATION

So, let's have a brief recap of the mysterious case of Jack Gordon's disappearance. To restate the basic known facts:
          1. Elderly gentleman disappears without a trace from a remote rural property in Southern Colorado in October 2008.
          2. Mr. Gordon is reported missing by his wife, and subsequent search turns up no physical evidence on his property or the surrounding countryside.
          3. In the years since then there has been no subsequent trace of activity on any of his financial accounts or any other indication that he is alive.
          4. A second person disappears on the same day from his residence on the same remote road.
          5. The second man is NOT reported missing by his relatives, who tell authorities he "left the state".
          6. The second man is found to be a felony sex offender who absconded and failed to register as a sex offender when he moved to the San Luis Valley from El Paso County, in violation of the terms of his previous probation. He is living under an assumed name at the time.
          7. The neighbor kept a blog that contained implied and explicit threats of physical violence against his neighbors.
          8. The neighbor's blog ceased active posting on the same day the two men disappeared.

Some conclusions can be drawn:
          1. Jack Gordon is dead
          2. John Fureigh left his self-built home on Luke Road in rural Costilla County suddenly
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Applying logical analysis to this set of facts there are three possible scenarios.

SCENARIO ONE: Jack Gordon was killed by person or persons unknown, and the same person either threatened or scared off the sex-offender neighbor to the point that he left the area permanently.  (i.e. the two disappearances are related and due to a third party perpretrator)

SCENARIO TWO: Jack Gordon was killed either accidentally or purposefully by the sex-offender neighbor who then hid or disposed of the body cleverly and then voluntarily left the area to avoid apprehension and prosecution.

SCENARIO THREE: Jack Gordon was killed by person or persons unknown who hid or disposed of the body.  The sex-offender neigbor left the area on the same day and quit making entries on his blog on the exact same day for purely coincidental reasons unrelated to the disappearance of Jack Gordon.

If I have erred in my analysis, please feel free to post a comment. 

(PERSONAL INVITATION: If you are the neighbor John Fureigh I would be interested to hear your account of the events of October 2, 2008.  You may be the only one who can show me where I may have gone wrong in my analysis.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

INSIDE THE CRIMINAL MIND

Here's an interesting read: Inside The Criminal Mind by Stanton Samenow Ph.D.

     First published in 1984, and with a more recent 2004 update, this book explores the workings of the criminal mind.  The author believes after decades of working with young adult criminals and delinquent adolescents that criminals choose to be the way they are.  He debunks popular theories of sociologists about the roots of crime.
For instance, the notion that something in a child's upbringing led to the eventual criminal behavior and therefore the criminal is a victim of circumstances beyond his or her control is addressed. If the theory is that the criminal was dropped on his head as a baby, Dr. Samenow points out that many criminals were not dropped on their heads as babies and that many babies who were dropped on their heads do not grow up to become criminals.
"Delinquent youngsters come from all social classes and from all kinds of homes. The variation in their upbringing is enormous. They differ from one another physically, in their talents and capabilities, and in many aspects of their personalities. Despite these differences, they are strkinkgly alike in that they all display the patterns that will be described in this chapter."
     The evolution of the criminal mind starts with learning patterns of manipulation early in life that enable him to negotiate the real world without consequences. The thought process becomes twisted

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Lest this blog degenerate into a quagmire of despair over the injustice done to Jack Gordon, or a littany of gripes about the ineffectiveness of the authorities or dwelling on the creepiness of his neighbors, I'd like to shift gears a little bit and focus on some positive information.  NFL football season is upon us, and in that spirit let's celebrate that part of Jack's life.

In high school, Jack was a star football player at Stow High School in Stow, OH.  He wore number "60" and played fullback.
After high school he went on to play collegiately at little Hiram College in Hiram, OH. 
In 2006, Jack Gordon was inducted into the Hiram College Athletic Hall of Fame. Here is the biographical blurb from his induction ceremony.

Jack “Flash” Gordon was a four-year letter winner as a member of the Hiram football team from 1949-1952. He was a three-year starter as a fullback. As a junior, Jack was the team’s leading rusher carrying the ball 67 times for 297 yards. In his senior season, he scored seven touchdowns and ranked among the top-15 scorers in the Ohio Conference. Following the end of his illustrious career at Hiram, Jack received an invitation from the Detroit Lions to play football.

Monday, August 6, 2012

COSTILLA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

Allow me to introduce the lead agency in the investigation of Jack Gordon's disappearance, the Costilla County Sheriff's office.

Oops- that link is for the previous sheriff.  Sheriff Martinez and Sgt. James Chavez were the primary investigators until Gilbert Martinez was defeated in the Democratic Party primary in August 2010 by Undersheriff Amos Medina.  Medina ran unopposed in the general election that year and took over the Sheriff's office shortly thereafter.  Here is the link to the current administration.  

Gilbert still works part time for the Sheriff, but is no longer actively involved in the investigation.
James Chavez was released from employment with the Sheriff when Amos took over, under something of a cloud.  As the Valley Courier reported on August 14, 2010:


Once in office Medina plans to terminate Chavez saying “he’s too much of a liability, there are lawsuits pending right now and they will probably win because there is video tape, and there was a previous law suit against Chavez from when he worked in Alamosa.”


The entire department was in turmoil during 2009 and 2010, as reported by Julia Wilson in the Valley Courier on February 9, 2010:


According to Amos Medina, one of the fired deputies, problems came to a head in the sheriff’s office on Feb. 1 when four deputies presented Martinez with a letter protesting the firing of deputy Jacob Vigil. In the letter they asked Martinez to reinstate Vigil and to get rid of Sgt. James Chavez. The other two deputies involved were Steve Lowrance and Andy Espinoza.


According to information provided to us by the current Sheriff, somehow during the transition to the new Sheriff the investigative file on the Jack Gordon case was "misplaced".  The current investigative officer is Sgt. Andrew Espinoza.  The original responding officer when Jack was reported missing was Jacob Vigil.

Oddly enough, having spoken with the various officers, I found James Chavez to be the most serious about trying to apprehend a suspect in this case.  Hopefully the current investigator will be able to pick up the traces and make some headway.

This report  in the Valley Courier from April 4, 2012 ("Costilla County fugitive still at large") is the only other recent news article I have found about the workings of the Costilla County Sheriff's office. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Anybody with information regarding the disappearance of Jack Gordon is encouraged to call the Sheriff's office at (719) 672-0673.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

JOHN BUSBY'S BLOG- PART 4

     To wrap up our week reviewing the neighbor's blog, I'd like to offer a sampling of commentary from the blog during the two months preceding Jack Gordon's disappearance.  This might give some useful insight into the neighborhood and the people who lived near Jack in the late summer of 2008.  Here are John Busby's thoughts on various topics, as expressed in his depublished blog, "Alpine Acres".  [emphasis added]

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

JOHN BUSBY'S BLOG- PART 3

To continue with our perusal of the blog written by Jack Gordon's neighbor John, let me offer another interesting selection. The middle of July 2008 was a sad time for John Busby (aka John Robert Fureigh).  His longtime four-legged companion Chief was hit and killed by a truck passing by his house on Luke Road.

My Chief

July 13, 2008 6:27 PM
 
Today I was working on the fence out by the road and Chief was lounging around in the truck like he usually does when I leave the doors open. A truck came down the road so my Chief wanted to see what or who that was and the driver of the truck was too busy looking at my house to see my dog standing in the road and Chief got hit.

I don't know whether this incident had anything to do with the events a scant two months later.  Was Busby (aka Fureigh) angry at inconsiderate drivers along Luke Road?  Jack Gordon drove by Busby's (aka Fureigh's) house every time he went out to his building site.  Was he the driver who hit Chief?  Only John Busby (aka John Robert Fureigh) would be able to enlighten us in that regard.  Perhaps someday he will be willing to talk with the Sheriff about that summer.  We would sure like to hear his side of the story, but his blog went inactive the day Jack Gordon disappeared and the blogger known as John Busby (aka John Robert Fureigh) never made another blog entry at that site.  Not surprisingly, his blog was de-published a short time later, as you can see if you try the link.  And he reportedly has not returned to the San Luis Valley since that day in October 2008.
 
PREVIOUS POSTS ABOUT THE NEIGHBOR'S BLOG:
JOHN BUSBY'S BLOG- PART 1
JOHN BUSBY'S BLOG- PART 2

Sunday, July 29, 2012

JOHN BUSBY'S BLOG- PART 2

We've been reading some excerpts from the blog of the neighbor John Busby (aka John Robert Fureigh).  See the previous post here, and the blog can be found here.

On the afternoon of June 5, 2008, Jack Gordon's neighbor John tried to take a nap, but was interrupted, resulting in this reaction on his blog:

Friday, July 27, 2012

JOHN BUSBY'S BLOG- PART 1

This week we are going to get to know the neighbor John a little better. According to the 2010 Denver Post article, The Mystery of Two Men's Disappearance on the Same Day, John Robert Fureigh was living in the Fort Garland area under the assumed name of John Busby, taking the last name of his mother's current husband.


Fureigh, using an alias, wrote a blog in which he often groused about trespassing neighbors disrupting his solitude, including an entry four days before Gordon's disappearance in which he complained that a neighbor woke him in the afternoon to ask for water after his well went down.

We'll get to that particular entry at a later date. Busby groused about a lot of things on his blog, entitled Alpine Acres. Let's go back in time a little and work our way up to the days surrounding Jack Gordon's disappearance. I will give you some sample excerpts over the next few posts, and let you draw your own conclusions.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

FALSE REASSURANCES

   In the aftermath of the movie theater shootings in Aurora this past week Governor John Hickenlooper attempted to reassure the public at a press conference, saying,
"This is the act apparently of a very deranged mind. This is a safe city, a safe state, and a safe country. We have to recognize that we can't allow people that are aberrations of nature to take away the joys and freedoms that we enjoy."



   As anyone who has experienced a violent crime can attest, it was safe right up until it no longer was safe.  The cinema in question had a "No Guns Allowed" policy. In Colorado this does not mean it is illegal to carry a firearm into the theater. It does mean...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

NEWSPAPER UPDATE- MARCH 2011

In March 2011, the Alamosa Valley Courier printed a follow-up article summarizing the status of several missing persons cases from the region, including Michael Rust and Casey Berry.  Jack Gordon merited a brief mention.

"Jack N. Gordon, 77, disappeared Oct. 2, 2008. Gordon is described as 6’2” tall and weighing about 235 pounds. He is described as a Caucasian with brown eyes and hair that would be gray or partially gray. He was last seen in Ft. Garland."




Thursday, July 19, 2012

BLACK BEAR ATTACKS


     To wrap up our week of wild animals, we need to consider the other major potential predator in the Colorado Rockies, the black bear.

     Here's a nice review of fatal black bear attacks in the U.S. and Canada from the Journal of Wildlife Management, entitled "Fatal attacks by American black bear on people: 1900–2009", authored by Stephen Herrero et al.  The full article is pay-walled, but the abstract is available.
The key interesting facts:
  • From 1960 to 2009 (49 years) there were 54 fatal black bear attacks (slightly over one per year).
  • More fatal attacks occurred in Canada and Alaska (49) than in the U.S. (14), despite higher human and black bear populations in the U.S. and by implication more potential for human-bear encounters (although that was not elucidated in the study)
  • 92% of fatal bear attacks involved adult or young adult males, tending to refute the commonly asserted notion that mother bears with cubs are the most dangerous.
     The article does not address the more dangerous Alaskan brown bear, grizzly bear or polar bear.
 
     Contrast the bear numbers with the occurence of fatal lightning strikes according to About.com.   In 2006 there were 47 fatal lightning strikes in the entire U.S. (5 in Colorado alone)- close to the annual average of 44.
     Simple mathematical comparison of the bear versus lightning numbers means you are roughly 43.5 times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike in the U.S. than by a black bear.

     Both of these are dwarfed by the chance of being purposely killed by another human-- 16,400 murders reported in the U.S. in 2008, the year Jack Gordon disappeared (data from the U.S. Census Bureau).  You do the math!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

LIONS AND COUGARS AND BEARS

To follow-up on our last post, regarding the possibility that a wild animal killed Jack Gordon, what about mountain lions? There certainly are mountain lions in the area.  Mountain lions are basically loners, with an individual lion ranging over a territory of many square miles.  Fatal mountain lion attacks are exceedingly rare but not unheard of.  According to Topanga on-line:
"Mountain lion attacks on people have increased dramatically since 1986. For example, in California, there were two fatal attacks in 1890 and 1909, and then no further attacks for 77 years, until 1986. From 1986 through 1995, ten verified attacks occurred, an average rate of one per year. That average rate has continued through 1999. Attacks are now numerous enough that there is a support group for attack victims, called California Lion Awareness (CLAW; Outside, 10/95). Since 1970 there has been an average of 14 cougar attacks per year on people in the entire U.S."
By "increased dramatically" they mean that they are still verrrry rare.
A scientific review of records on attacks by cougars on humans in the United States and Canada from 1890 through 1990 indicated there were 53 cougar attacks on humans during this period. There were nine attacks that resulted in 10 human deaths, and 44 non-fatal attacks.  A striking majority of attacks are on children or slightly built adults, often out hiking or jogging on mountain trails. Mountain lions generally drag their kill to a spot near the attack and remain in the area, often for several days, feeding on the carcass.
We have seen mountain lions in the area. In fact, in 2011 I found the partially decomposed head of a mountain lion while hiking in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  No body- just the head!  Boiled it up, made a nice soup and mounted the skull.
(Just kidding about the soup!)


More harrowing tales of mountain lion attacks, lethal and otherwise.  WARNING- Not for the faint of heart:

List of Confirmed Cougar Attacks In the United States and Canada  1890 - 1990
(six fatal attacks in the U.S. during a century)
List of Confirmed Cougar Attacks In the United States and Canada 1991 - 2000
(five fatal attacks in the U.S. during the decade)
List of Confirmed Cougar Attacks In the United States and Canada 2001 - 2010
(three fatal attacks in the U.S during the decade)
List of Confirmed Cougar Attacks In the United States and Canada 2011 - 2020
(no fatal attacks in the U.S. yet this decade)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

SEE YA LATER ALLIGATOR

One of the theories put forward by the "The-Neighbor-Had-Nothing-To-Do-With-It" camp was that perhaps Jack Gordon was eaten by a wild animal.  In this part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains there are only two possible candidates for this theory; mountain lions and black bears.  That is, unless you consider the alligators....

Friday, July 13, 2012

NAMUS

      One of the problems that families encounter when working with law enforcement is that there tends to be compartmentalization of information about missing persons. There are numerous on-line missing persons databases- some run by private groups or individuals, some by state or local law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Cross-communication among these many sites is not good. As families try to get the word out about their missing family member, it is tempting to try to "register" or enroll in all of these data bases. It is difficult to maintain accuracy and to update information on these sites once the initial submission has been made.  In recent years there has been an attempt to coordinate some of these activities. Probably the best centralized repository for data on missing persons is NAMUS- the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. The structure and functions of the organization are summarized in this publication.  

      Launched in 2009, NAMUS provides a systematic way for local law enforcement and families to upload their information, while filtering to some extent. As a clearing house it allows better avenues for matching unidentified bodies or remains with actual missing persons, with options for uploading dental records or DNA information. Members of the public can submit cases, but they are not made available on the site until verified by the local investigatng agency. Check 'em out. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DAY JOB

Posting will be light this week due to demands of my real job.  More to come in days ahead.

Monday, July 9, 2012

WHO IN THE HELL IS SEAMUS MULDOON?

          In order to understand why we refer to Jack Gordon as the "real" Seamus Muldoon it helps to understand who Seamus Muldoon was.  Here is an excerpt from the book, "The Curious Disappearance of Seamus Muldoon"...

          Whether it was a bad play on words, a tale of petrified rocks, dumpster diving behind the Wal-Mart, a scheme to become a castle inspector in the “Old Country” or a riff on Seamus’ new commercial dietary supplement product “Gas Away”, an afternoon with Seamus was an afternoon well spent. The sheer joy and playfulness of Seamus was infectious. So, who in the hell is Seamus Muldoon? I think the best way to sum him up would be to describe him as a unique literary character in the oral tradition. Jack brought Seamus to life many years ago in stories to his young daughters, and kept him alive throughout the years that I knew both Jack and Seamus.


          Seamus Muldoon disappeared along with Jack Gordon on the first Thursday of October 2008. Seamus Muldoon was Jack Gordon and Jack Gordon was Seamus Muldoon. But while we believe that Jack Gordon is gone forever, Seamus Muldoon lives on!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

YET ANOTHER MISSING PERSON IN THE SLV

Jack Gordon and Casey Berry are not the only two men to disappear from the San Luis Valley during that timeframe.  On April 2, 2009--six months to the day after Jack disappeared--a man named Michael Rust was reported missing under suspicious circumstances from his home on rural property near the town of Saguache. The Alamosa Valley Courier has run several articles on the case. This version, from March 2010 gives a good case summary.
Sometime after 7 p.m. on Tues., March 31, 2009 Mike Rust went missing. He had gone to the store and bought groceries earlier in the evening and when he returned to his remote home something made him think his home had been broken into. He called a friend, [redacted] of Salida and told her he thought someone had broken in. Within an hour he called her again and said he had seen someone and was going to follow their tracks. Investigators believe the first call was made from Rust’s car, and then later he called from his cell phone from within his home and then left on a red and white colored Honda CRF 250 Enduro motorcycle that belonged to his friend [redacted], looking for whoever may have broken into his home. 
That was the last time anyone saw or heard from Mike Rust. Some physical evidence was found during the investigation...

Friday, July 6, 2012

COMING ATTRACTIONS

In no particular order
  • Nonhuman predators
  • Who is Seamus Muldoon anyway?
  • The investigation
  • Yet another missing man in the San Luis Valley

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Lay of the Land- Part 2

Let's zoom in for a little closer look at the terrain surrounding Luke Road. (NOTE: Refer to the Lay of the Land- Part 1 and  Search and Rescue for a wider frame of reference.) If we swing around to the north and look back in a south by southeasterly direction we can see the main portion of Luke Road as viewed by Google Earth:



I have cobbled together an amateurish photographic panorama of this same view from almost the same perspective:
To the left (east), you can see the cul-de-sac with Jack's roofline and Big Bear's place across the way.  Back toward the right (west) you see the neighbor John's place and the mid-portion of Luke Road.

Here is a closer look at the cul-de-sac:
Jack's house is on the left of this view, Big Bear's to the right of center. Between those two is another neighbor's house.

And here is a close-up of Jack's rough-hewn house, sitting atop a small knoll surrounded by pinon pines and sagebrush:
This is about the stage of completion it was at when Jack disappeared.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Of aliens, radioactive boots and abduction

The San Luis Valley and UFO's have been linked for decades. The first and possibly most famous incident involved Snippy the horse (sometimes referred to as "Skippy") in 1967.  Here's a nice summary of the case.  It seems Snippy was found dead and strangely mutilated with absolutely no blood remaining in the body or nearby. Investigation revealed some other strange things:
The horse's owner, Nellie Lewis, accompanied by Harry King, visited the spot where Snippy had been found. She reported finding a flattened bush and what seemed to be exhaust marks. She also said she smelled a strange, sweet odor, "like incense." She picked up a piece of the horse's mane and felt it burn her hands. Later she reported her boots were found to be radioactive. She remained convinced that extraterrestrials had done this to her horse.
Some however, remained skeptical, including Dr. Robert Adams, a pathologist and member of the University of Colorado's Condon Commission on UFO's, who performed an autopsy on Snippy and reached a different conclusion.
“I know it's going to pop the bubble, but the horse was not killed by a flying saucer.” Dr. Adams said his findings at this point are speculative, but there was some evidence that severe infection had been present in the right flank area.

Since the incident of Snippy the horse, UFO sightings have been commonplace throughout the eastern end of the San Luis Valley from San Luis in the south to Poncha Pass in the north. There is a UFO observation deck (public access for a fee, complete with geodesic dome and gift shop) north of the small town of Hooper, and only a short distance from the Great Sand Dunes (Short video highlighting the UFO observation deck).


Animal mutilations under strange circumstances have also continued sporadically.  More recently, in November 2009, several calves were found dead and mutilated in Costilla County. The Pueblo Chieftain reported on the incident:
Rancher Manuel Sanchez has had four calves mutilated over a three-week span in a pasture he leases near Los Vallejos, just southeast of here, with the most recent victim coming on Nov. 16.  In each case, Sanchez found his calves with skin peeled back and organs cleaned out from the rib cage.
 The local sheriff's office investigated:
Sgt. James Chavez, who serves as the public information officer for the Costilla County Sheriff's Office, said a deputy and an undersheriff went to the pasture to investigate one of the killings.  Chavez said the investigation revealed no indications of a predator attack and the lack of blood at the site made it highly unlikely that a person butchered it.  "I've butchered a cow before and I know what kind of a mess it leaves," he said.
Now, the reason that I mention these incidents is that during the course of the initial search for Jack Gordon, a bystander mentioned in all seriousness the possibility of an alien abduction. And, as if it wasn't surreal enough, the investigating officer for the cattle mutilations (Sgt. James Chavez) was the same as for the Jack Gordon case. Go figure...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The mystery of two men's disappearance on the same day

Crime reporter Kirk Mitchell of the Denver Post picked up the story of Jack Gordon's disappearance in June 2010. Read the whole thing here:

Here are a couple of excerpts:
Did they leave together? Did they both choose to coincidentally disappear on the same day? Or did one or both of them meet with foul play that night?
The only evidence left behind was a dark stain found on the dirt driveway leading to Fureigh's home. But even that has a mystery attached — the sheriff, strapped for time in patrolling a 1,200-square-mile county — didn't test the spot to see whether it was blood, or, if so, whose.  "It's real frustrating. We don't have enough evidence for a search warrant of his place," said Costilla County sheriff's Lt. James Chavez of Fureigh's home. "It's just one of those things that happens when someone goes missing."

Just one of those things that happens.