The Doe Network:
Case File 239DMIL

1 Age-Progression
Left: Howell, circa 1969; Right: Age-progressed image to age 50 (circa 2010)

James Richard Howell
Missing since May 28, 1969 from Sterling, Whiteside County, Illinois.
Classification: Endangered Missing

Vital Statistics

  • Date Of Birth: October 28, 1959
  • Age at Time of Disappearance: 9 years old
  • Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 4'5; 79 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: White male. Brown hair; brown eyes.
  • Clothing: Blue jeans and a white T-shirt. White tennis shoes.
  • AKA: Jimmy

Circumstances of Disappearance
Howell and his sister, Debra, were playing in the front yard of their home on West 13th Street in Sterling, Illinois on May 28, 1969. Jim was going to build a cage for his birds. Deb went into the house to get some nails and a hammer. When she returned about a minute later, the boards Jim had with him to build the cage were scattered along the street in front of the residence and Jim was gone.
Newspaper reports from days, months and a year after Howell's disappearance reveal several supposed sightings of the boy.
A newspaper account states Howell's stepfather saw him a short time after he apparently left home looking for wood to build a birdcage, across the alley with another boy from the neighborhood, and a neighbor reported seeing him walk across a nearby field with the pigeon under his arm.
Police were notified the following day, after the boy's mother and stepfather apparently had spent the night searching for him. A neighbor called at 22:35 on May 28, 1969, to report Howell's disappearance.
An ensuing search included a 400-person air and ground search party that worked its way through the area west of town where Howell reportedly last was seen by his stepfather, a search of Elkhorn Creek and the Rock River, and divers searched gravel pits and water areas, with no results.

If you have any information concerning Howell's whereabouts, please contact:
Whiteside County Sheriff's Office
Detective Pat Carney

You may remain anonymous when submitting information to any agency.

Agency Case Number: M00A7263

NCIC Number:

NCMEC Number:

Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

Source Information: The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
NamUs MP #6194

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Last Updated: 8/1/2012 - By: BR / Web Assist