It had been 7 years since Johnny Gosch had been taken. The story went nationwide and garnered much media attention. This included help from John Walsh on America’s Most Wanted. Noreen Gosch had become tireless in her attempts to keep her son in media limelight. Two other boys about Johnny’s age were taken Eugene Martin in August 1984 and Marc Allen in 1986. Due to her testimony before the Justice Department the first $10,000,000 was awarded to start theNational Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She was invited by President Reagan to the opening and dedication of the center. (1)
She criticized law enforcement in their lack of attention to Johnny’s disappearance and it created difficult relationships with the police and the FBI. Frankly when I read the information about her and watched the documentary, what I saw was an organized, thorough mother who was looking for her son. The criticisms I read were by people who frankly did not do their jobs well.
A man named Paul Bonacci came forward in 1989 and told his attorney that he was part of a sex ring and that he had taken part in the abduction of Johnny Gosch. Bonacci himself was taken by the ring when he was young. Lawrence E. King the director of the Franklin Credit Union was implicated in the prostitution ring that was comprised of young children. He testified that men in the position of power in government traded the children from coast to coast. Bonacci testified against him, and provided inside information. The FBI and police called him “not a credible witness”.
Eventually Bonacci was awarded $1million dollars in compensatory damages and punitive damages in a suit against King. Noreen Gosch met with him, and related Bonacci told her things about Johnny that convinced her he knew her son. She forgave him as he was a victim himself. It also gave her hope, as it proved to her Johnny was still alive. (2)
An interesting side note, a couple of weeks before the grand jury was to convene on the Franklin case, the lead investigator Gary Caradori was killed in a plane crash. More puzzling is that the mechanic that worked on the plane was found dead in his apartment, after receiving a large sum of money that was deposited in his bank account at Franklin Credit Union. Was it murder or suicide? We will never know but it was too strange a coincidence. (3)
Noreen herself testified to what she knew, shocking the courtroom and providing the media with another feeding frenzy. When asked if she had seen Johnny since his abduction in 1982 Noreen said, “Once”. Noreen related that in March 1997 about 4 years after the Goschs divorced, she was awakened by a knock at her apartment door. It was about 2:30 a.m. and it was Johnny outside with another man. She said they talked about 1 ½ hours, and he seemed to seek approval from the other man in regard to what he was telling his mother. She recognized him by a birthmark on his chest, and his eyes. She also said Johnny disappeared into the night and she had not seen him since. (4)
Noreen was sent over 500 pictures of missing children; one she believes was Johnny as a youth. She tirelessly works with other parents of missing children and has written a book called, “Why Johnny Can’t Come Home”. She believes that he has been so brainwashed and threatened that if was safer if he just started another life. It was Johnny Gosch’s story that woke up a nation to some of the dangers waiting for our children. The world changed in the 1980’s and personally I believe it is part of what created the ‘helicopter mother’. I know I was one of them.
In a weird twist, many believe that Johnny Gosch grew up to be a man that goes by the name now of Jeff Gannon. I say now, as he had other names, James Dale Guckert and “Bulldog”. Enter Ted Gunderson of the FBI. He worked on the disappearance for 10 years. Gunderson has said that he has a credible source that knows Jeff Gannon is Johnny Gosch. The source maintains contact with Johnny Gosch. Gunderson also said, “Let’s just say he’s in a position to know. The kids are in touch with each other. It is a bond they share”. Though at this point there has been no DNA testing done to prove it. (5)
Noreen Gosch believes Johnny was sold to a man for $35,000. Now there is no way to validate this, so it really is a theory and nothing more at least at this point. Noreen has worked on this for decades though, and she is convinced of it, and frankly she has been more accurate and thorough that the authorities investigating his disappearance. She continues to this day to help others who have gone through what she has, to educate the public, she is a person who has used the worst tragedy in her life to something more noble, I think Johnny would approve.
- About Noreen Gosch, http://www.johnnygosch.com/aboutnoreen.htm
- Santiago, Frank (February 7, 1999).“Noreen Gosch: I saw Johnny”. The Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on March 5, 2005. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
- Murder Monday: Johnny Gosch and the Franklin Coverup, Weirdshitblog,http://weirdshitblog.com/post/3562765371/murder-monday-johnny-gosch-and-the-franklin
- The Johnny Gosch Tragedy; A Story of Kidnapping, Mind Control and Pedophilia, https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/The-Tragedy-Of-Johnny-Gosch
- Fassa, Charlene, Noreen Gosch Speaks About-Jeff Gannon, Johnny Gosch and the Attemped Theft of her Book‘Why Johnny Can’t Come Home’, http://www.rense.com/general67/gannn.htm
- Newton, Michael (2009). The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crime. Facts On File/Infobase Publishing, 140-141