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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Nothing can adequately prepare you for the shock and pain of a missing family member. Based on our personal experience and observations we would offer the following five tips for families of missing persons.

1.  PRESERVE HOPE- This is what gets you up each day, and what gets you through long sleepless nights of uncertainty.  Hope is essential to the human condition.  But at the same time we also think it is important to maintain a sense of balance in your life.  Even though your loved one is missing, (More below the break)...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Introducing Jack's Neighbor John

   According to the Costilla County Sheriff's office, Jack's neighbor identified in the original incident report as John, was living under the name of John Busby.  That turns out not to be his real name. The sheriff has identified him as John Robert Fureigh, born 3/03/1967.

Here's what he looked like in 1993, in Florida.
And here's what he looked like circa 1999, in Colorado.
And he made #60 on a certain Colorado top 100 list.

Fureigh relocated to the San Luis Valley sometime around 2006 and began building a house on a five-acre property owned by his mother on Luke Road in the Forbes Sangre de Cristo Ranches, roughly 3/4 of a mile from Jack Gordon's homesite.  Fureigh was never interviewed by the authorities following Jack's disappearance.  He currently has multiple outstanding felony warrants from various jurisdictions. For all I know, he saw the hubbub of Sheriff's Department vehicles along Luke Road that day in 2008 and left the area in order to avoid being apprehended on a prior warrant.

   I am interested to know if Fureigh, being a close neighbor, has any first-hand information about the events of October 2, 2008.  Did he see Jack Gordon along Luke Road that morning? Did he have a conversation or argument with Jack? Can he comment on Jack's state of mind? Did he see anybody else with Jack? Does he know what happened to Jack that day? Does he have any idea where Jack's body might be?  Did he hear gunshots?  Would he be willing to talk to the sheriff by phone?  Would he be willing to provide information that might clear him of any possible suspicion in this matter, allowing the sheriff to focus on more likely suspects? Unless he comes forward, these questions will remain unanswered.

Interestingly enough, Big Bear was not the only neighbor of Jack's on Luke Road who kept a blog.  The neighbor Fureigh also was a blogger of sorts. More about that in a future post.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Other Costilla County missing persons

   A year and a half before Jack Gordon went missing (February 2007), another Costilla County man disappeared, under suspicious circumstances. A young man in his late 20's, Casey Berry was living in the sagebrush flatlands of the southeastern San Luis Valley near the town of San Luis (South of Fort Garland, roughly 15 miles from Jack Gordon's place) with a roommate named Duane Kulakofsky.  His disappearance didn't even make the local papers at the time. The story was picked up in 2010 by the Denver Post.  I'll let the Post's Kirk Mitchell give you the details on the Cold Case Blog, here.
Berry went to Bob’s house to retrieve some of Kulakofsky’s possessions. When he didn’t return when he was supposed to, Kulakofsky went to the house.
Bob is described as a native American who looks like Colonel Sanders. (don't they all?) 
In three years, deputies in tiny Costilla County have not been able to locate Bob or Berry’s remains.
   The San Luis Valley is sometimes referred to as the 'valley of the cousins' and in Costilla County everybody knows everybody.  An "edgy and violent" Native American who looks like Colonel Sanders should be readily identifiable. Is it possible that 'Bob' doesn't even exist?  Is it possible that the description of 'Bob' was intentionally misleading? Is it also possible that there could be a connection between the Casey Berry case and the Jack Gordon case?

COMING SOON...Could there be others?
NEXT...Introducing Jack's neighbor John

Fiscal Fitness

     Many people have speculated that maybe Jack Gordon took a powder, dropped everything and set out on an adventure. Maybe he ran off with another woman. Maybe he went back to one of his former wives. Maybe he just chucked it all. I think with older adolescent and young adult missing persons the desire to leave their "miserable" life behind and start anew with nothing but a few pennies in their pocket and a bus ticket to the "big city" may be a reason for going missing.  Many of these younger individuals are pursuing a "dream". They could perhaps more properly be considered "runaways" rather than missing.  Although the anguish for their families is real and the risk to a vulnerable youth out there in the world is not negligible, that scenario really doesn't apply in Jack's situation.  For an older individual with less physical vigor, a certain fiscal vigor is needed to carry out that type of conscious choice.

     Jack Gordon's only means of support at the time he went missing was a modest Social Security monthly payment. He did not earn a regular income from employment or private pension.  Although he owned the land at the building site he was not flush with cash. He obtained building materials in a variety of ways other than buying retail. He did not have any significant savings. His Social Security checks were not redirected somewhere else after he disappeared. He quite simply did not have the monetary resources or the fortitude needed to start life over at age 77.

And rumor has it that none of his ex-wives would have him back even if he tried!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The neighbor's blog

I have been trying to maintain a sense of the chronologic order in which the case unfolded for us.  Now would be a good time to introduce another one of Jack's neighbors. A self-described corporate drop-out, this young single intelligent guy blogged under the handle of 'Big Bear'.  His blog describes his experiences during the construction of an off-grid cabin in the San Luis Valley.  His cabin is about a quarter of a mile from Jack's (see map here). The name of his blog is the Bear Ridge Project.  At the end of October, 2008 Big Bear posted his version of Jack's disappearance titled "Strange Events". (I recommend you check out his blog, particularly that post.  It is a little long, but makes an interesting read. He has also written a book about off grid living and if you are interested in that topic give it a look.)
 No, I am not going to be speaking about alien abductions. Yes, there were unexplained disappearances and mysterious lights in the sky but it was most certainly not an alien abduction. Indeed, the San Luis Valley does have a problem with missing persons, secret bases, unworldly creatures and strange flying craft but this is not about alien abductions. That being said...

     Big Bear has since moved away from Luke Road and relocated to another state.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Questions of health

     So, back to our discussion about the mysterious disappearance of Jack Gordon.  When dealing with elderly missing persons, the health status of the individual must come under consideration.  Jack Gordon was 77 years old at the time of his disappearance. For many years he had suffered from occasional bouts of vertigo, with sudden dizziness and loss of balance.  He had borderline high blood pressure, not out of the ordinary for a man his age.  About a year and half before he disappeared he had experienced a minor stroke, but had physically recuperated completely from that, without any apparent long-term neurologic deficits (weakness, slurred speech, etc.).  His mind was active and engaged, he did not have Alzheimer's, elderly dementia or senility.
     Jack did not exercise.  I never knew him to take a long walk when a short walk would do and I never knew him to take a short walk when a comfortable chair was handy. If he wandered away from his property that day in 2008 he did not walk far.
     Jack's mental health was solid.  Some would have considered him a contrarian, but he was not irrational.  About a month before he disappeared his daughter had died of breast cancer after a long illness.  He was saddened by that, as were all of us.

     We considered all of these factors while searching for answers to his disappearance.
Did he lose his balance and fall, injuring himself? Did he have another stroke, either fatal or debilitating?  Was he depressed enough to commit suicide?  Did he merely get confused and wander off? Or was his health not a factor at all...


Monday, June 18, 2012

Missing boy lives in forest for five years- NOT!

Well, speaking of missing persons, here's an angle I hadn't previously considered in Jack Gordon's case.  It seems a young man wandered into a government building in Berlin, Germany several months ago, claiming that he had spent the last five years living in the forest, initially with his father. 
     He said his mother, Doreen, died in a car accident when he was 12 and after that he and his father, Ryan, took to the forest. He said they wandered using maps and a compass, staying in tents or caves overnight.
     He told authorities that after his father died in August 2011, he buried him in the forest and then walked five days north before ending up in Berlin, and showed up at city hall Sept. 5.
Well, the entire story turns out to be a fake, big surprise, eh? A former girlfriend recognized his picture on a news story and tipped the police. The man had been reported missing from his home in the Netherlands just a few days before he turned up in the Berlin police station.

There is, however, one comment from the article that bears consideration when dealing with adult missing persons.
     Berlin police said even though he had been reported missing, there was no active investigation into his disappearance because there was no evidence of foul play and he was an adult. 
 This presumption can influence the decisions made by authorities when an adult goes missing. Often it turns out to be the correct presumption.  But not always...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Murders up in towns less than 10,000

Posted at Drudge,  this update from the FBI.
■There was, however... an 18.3 percent jump in murder in cities with populations of less than 10,000.
Population of Fort Garland, CO in 2010- 433
Population of Costilla County, CO in 2009- 3,148

I'm not sayin' these facts are necessarily related, I'm just sayin'

Friday, June 8, 2012

Missing Persons Statistics- NCIC

The FBI keeps national missing persons statistics in National Crime Information Center. The latest available statistics are for 2010 and can be found here.  Here are a few highlights.

During 2010, 692,944 missing person records were entered into NCIC, a decrease of 3.7 percent from the 719,558 records entered in 2009. Missing person records cleared or canceled during the same period totaled 703,316. Reasons for these removals include: a law enforcement agency located the subject; the individual returned home; or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record was invalid.
The NCIC database includes an optional designation called "Missing Persons Circumstances" or MPC.  I find it interesting that in 2010, of those persons reported missing, 96% were coded as Runaway, while only 2.2% were categorized as Adult-Federally Required Entry. Only 0.1% or 367 total cases were categorized as Abducted by Stranger.

Many missing persons sites quote the larger gross numbers in the range of 700,000 to 800,000 missing person reports per year. However, the vast majority of these are cleared very quickly.  This accounts for the high turnover rate in the statistics.  So in 2010 there were 692,944 new cases but 703,316 cases were closed during the year (whether from 2010 or prior years).

It looks to me like the number of unsolved missing persons cases on the NCIC database floats at around 80-90,000 at any given time (85,820 at the end of 2010).

While missing family members of any type can be emotionally devastating for the remaining family, this blog will focus on adult missing persons where violent crime is suspected, a decidedly small minority of the total.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

Introducing the "Real" Seamus Muldoon

On October 2, 2008, Jack Nels Gordon disappeared from the face of the earth.  I mean he literally disappeared.  To this day, now almost four years later, no trace has ever been found.  This blog will explore different aspects of adult missing persons, particularly those where violent crime is suspected.  Future posts will give links to news articles related to Jack Gordon's disappearance or similar/related cases as well as relevant statistics or other interesting information.
Stay tuned!