disappearance

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Michael Rockefeller, 23, youngest son of the late New York Governor Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, is pictured operating an outboard motor boat in New Guinea. The youth went missing in 1961 after a small native boat was swept to sea. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Michael Rockefeller Disappearance

Many people love taking the opportunity to travel the world: to fly or sail to amazing lands across the globe. The glorious experience of adventure is something that you can’t put a price on. Though, if your great grandfather was John D. Rockefeller, the cost isn’t something you need to worry about.

In 1961 the 23-year-old son of New York’s Governor Nelson Rockefeller and heir to a vast family fortune went missing in Dutch New Guinea while filming a documentary.

At the time, officials declared Michael Rockefeller had been lost at sea after the boat on which he was travelling capsized.

What happened to the eager young Michael Rockefeller, who vanished while collecting indigenous art among the Asmat tribe of what was then Netherlands New Guinea? Though his father, New York State governor and future Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, had the means and clout to launch a formidable search, no trace of the 23-year-old recent Harvard grad was ever found.

It has been suggested that Michael, long rumoured to have met his demise at the hands of locals (gifted wood carvers who were also documented to be cannibals and headhunters), may have unknowingly upset a delicate peace between warring villages in the region, and been targeted simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If that were true, would it make Michael’s disappearance more tragic cultural misunderstanding than a crime?

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Sick Telephone Games

 “To me, she exemplified the word, give. She’d just give and give and give; no matter what it cost her … she spent her last hours giving and being concerned about others.”  

– Dorothy’s Brother Jim

“Ok,” the voice warned, “now you’re going to come my way, and when I get you alone, I will cut you up into bits so no one will ever find you.”

For months, Dorothy Jane Scott had been receiving phone calls at her workplace from the same mysterious caller. The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but she just couldn’t place it. Sometimes he expressed fawning adoration, and other times, resentment and violence. He let her know that he was trailing her wherever she went, and he described details of her daily activities to prove it. This volatile, unseen stalker so alarmed her that she took up karate and considered buying a handgun.

She was employed as a secretary for Swingers Psych Shop, in Anaheim, which was conveniently attached to Custom John’s Head Shop. Swingers and Custom John’s were jointly owned services of the area’s vestigial hippie culture, so one could pick up a “waterpipe” at the latter and then go soak in the groovy posters in the former’s blacklight room.
Dorothy worked in a back room office and led a life far less colourful than the tie-dye shirts and multicoloured bongs sold at the other end of the store. “As dull as a phone book,” one friend described it. She almost never left the house for recreation. She was religious. She rarely dated, if ever, and worked from morning till night, leaving her son Shawn in the care of her parents during business hours. She was a dependable worker, and by all accounts, a kind-hearted and compassionate person.

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Anne Darwin hit the headlines when she helped her husband John Darwin fake his own death.

Scammers …

The stranger in the English seaside town of Seaton Carew had arrived from nowhere several years ago. But with his marked limp and flowing bird’s-nest beard, it didn’t take long for him to attract attention. At least one resident also noted he was soon keeping company with Anne Darwin, whose husband John, a prison guard, had been declared dead in a 2002 kayaking accident. One neighbour, who moved in after John’s disappearance, recalls seeing the stranger scores of times. “I thought it was her boyfriend,” says the neighbour, who had never met John. “He looked like he was out of ZZ Top.”

In the days ahead the stranger, who it now turns out was none other than John Darwin, was singing the blues. Darwin, walked into a London police station, claiming he had been suffering from amnesia and could remember nothing since 2000. But the heartwarming tale of a man returned from the dead went sour when a quick Internet search turned up a photo of John and Anne, 55, living it up in Panama. Police quickly announced the couple would be charged with faking the tragedy in order to collect on John’s insurance policies. But, as they tell it, no one was more deeply deceived by the alleged scam than the couple’s two sons, who had apparently been left to grieve for years over their father’s disappearance. “How could our mam continue to let us believe our dad had died when he was very much alive?” said the furious boys in a joint statement.

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Bobby Greenlease and his father, Robert C. Greenlease Sr., 71.

The “No-Tell Motel” and the Bobby Greenlease Kidnapping

One of the more tragic and fascinating crimes of the mid 20th century was the kidnapping and murder of 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease in 1953, and the subsequent disappearance of half the $600,000 ransom his family futilely paid for his release.

Bobby was the son of Robert C. and Virginia Greenlease. His 71-year-old father was one of the largest Cadillac dealers in the nation. The Greenleases lived in Mission Hills, Kan., the most elite suburb in the Kansas City area.

The kidnappers – Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Brown Heady – had both known privilege earlier in their lives. In fact, it was at military school that Hall met Paul Greenlease, the older, adopted brother of Bobby Greenlease. Hall later inherited a substantial amount of money from his father, but blew it failing at a number of business ventures. For robbing a number of cab drivers – his total take was $38 — Hall was sent to the Missouri State Penitentiary. In prison he dreamed of making “the big score” – a score that would allow him to once again live in luxury.

He later said that kidnapping was the only crime where he could strike once and retire for life.

Once out of prison, Hall, stocky and with thinning hair, was living in St. Joseph, Mo., and started going with Heady – a plump but not entirely unattractive woman, who was known to sleep around and prostitute herself. Heady owned her own home. They got drunk routinely, and sometimes Hall knocked her around. In fact, when she was arrested for the kidnapping she bore the marks of a Hall beating.

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