The Doe Network:
Case File 160DMIA

Left: Gosch, circa 1982; Right: Age-progressed to age 40 (circa 2010)

John David Gosch
Missing since September 5, 1982 from West Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.
Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Vital Statistics

  • Date Of Birth: November 12, 1969
  • Age at Time of Disappearance: 12 years old
  • Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'7; 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: White male. Light brown, short hair; blue eyes.
  • Marks, Scars: Gosch has facial freckles. He has a horseshoe-shaped scar on his tongue and a birthmark on his left cheek.
  • Clothing: A white sweatshirt with Kim's Academy imprinted on the back, warm-up pants and blue rubber thong sandals.
  • Dentals: There is a gap between his front teeth.
  • Nickname: Johnny

Circumstances of Disappearance
Gosch disappeared while conducting his newspaper route in West Des Moines, Iowa on September 5, 1982. He was tailed by his dachshund, Gretchen. Gosch was seen speaking to a male suspect while working his paper route on 42nd Street and Marcourt Lane. Gretchen returned home without her master.

Because of the Gosch case, Iowa passed a law requiring immediate investigations of missing children.

Gosch disappeared from the same vicinity as Eugene Wade Martin did in October of 1984 and Marc James-Warren Allen in March of 1986. Martin also vanished while working his newspaper route; It has not been proved that these three cases are related in any way, but it is worth noting the similarities.

Gosch's mother claimed that her son is alive and that he visited her in 1997. She announced her revelations during a 1999 pedophile crime organization trial in Nebraska. Gosch's mother said that he came to her Iowa apartment in March 1997 with an unidentified male friend. She claims that Gosch told her he was abducted by members of a pedophile crime organization and he escaped from the group at an undetermined time. Gosch's mother also said that her son was in fear of repercussions from the group and that was the reason he chose to remain "underground." She stated that she has had no further contact with her son since his 1997 visit and that she remained silent about the event until called as a witness in court because she fears for Gosch's safety.

If you have any information concerning Gosch's whereabouts, please contact:
West Des Moines Police Department
Detective Tom Boyd
Iowa Missing Person Information Clearinghouse

All information may be submitted anonymously.

Agency Case Number: 82-2976

NCMEC #: NCMC601763

NCIC Number:
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information related to this case.

Source Information:
The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
The Cedar Rapids Gazette
The Des Moines Register
What Happened to Johnny
The Johnny Gosch Foundation
Iowa Missing Person Information Clearinghouse

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