Eugene Martin; Source: IowaColdCases.Org
Eugene Wade Martin, a Des Moines Register paper boy, vanished without a trace on the morning of August 12th 1984, almost 2 years after the disappearance of Johnny Gosch. The disappearance of Eugene ignited a crippling fear in the Des Moines community, eerily similar to the case of Johnny Gosch. Parents couldn’t help but be concerned there might be a serial predator lurking in their midst.
Martin, a 13 year old boy who loved playing football and video games, wanted to earn some extra money of his own. At 5 am on August 12th, 1984, Martin left his home wearing blue jeans, a red shirt, and gray pullover, and set off on his usual paper route. It’s important to note, Eugene’s older step-brother usually accompanied him on his weekly paper route, but this did not happen on that fateful day of August 12th. This is something that does not sit well with me. If you recall my blog post from last week covering the disappearance of Johnny Gosch, Johnny Gosch’s Father, John Leonard Gosch, accompanied Johnny on his paper route every Sunday, except for the day Johnny disappeared. This detail might appear to be miniscule, but what made Eugene’s older brother not accompany him on his paper route that day, just as John Leonard Gosch had decided not to accompany Johnny? This alone, suggests to me that the disappearances of these 2 boys may somehow have to be connected.
Like the disappearance of Johnny Gosch, we have witnesses who can account to seeing Eugene that morning. Witnesses claim to have seen Martin conversing with a well-groomed Caucasian male, who appeared to be in his 30’s, sometime between 5 and 5:45 am. Other witnesses claim to have seen Martin engaged in friendly conversation with the man (as if he knew him), and others can account seeing Martin folding his newspapers and talking with the same man, between 5:45 and 6:05 am. This is the last time Eugene was seen.
Neighbors started phoning the Des Moines Register, wondering where there newspapers were. The manager of the Register found the abandoned bag filled with folded newspapers, and he delivered the papers to the respected houses. Why did the manager of the Des Moines Register feel it was absolutely prudent to deliver the papers when a potential abduction might have just occurred? Like the case of Johnny Gosch, upon discovering Johnny’s abandoned wagon filled with newspapers and his miniature dachshund, John Leonard Gosch still felt that need to deliver those papers, despite the obvious abduction. Were they just willfully ignorant to the suspicious events of both mornings?
We now have 2 disappearances, occurring within miles of each other, having uncanny similarities, yet the Des Moines Police Department adamantly denied a connection between the 2 boys disappearances. The Federal Bureau of Investigation claimed there might be a “definite connection” between the two disappearances. Herb Hawkins, a special F.B.I agent, theorized that the person responsible for these two disappearances “is an introvert, a loner who may or may not be extra guilt-ridden on what he does but will not turn himself in.” We probably will never know who is responsible for these horrific events.
The absolute lack of evidence in this case has left many puzzled for years, desperate for any kind of answers. Was Eugene abducted by someone he knew? Was there a Serial Predator inhabiting the Des Moines Area in the 80’s? Was the Des Moines Register implicated in any wrongdoing? Were the boys kidnapped by for the purpose of being traded in a child sex trafficking ring?
Eugene Martin has been missing for 36 years. His parents passed away without knowing what happened to their little boy. It is devastating the lack of information available in this case. The lack of media coverage and lack of evidence hindered the investigation from the start. However, this was not case when uncovering research regarding Johnny Gosch. The difference might be Johnny Gosch’s mother, Noreen Gosch, who made it her life’s mission to uncover the truth behind what happened to her son, no matter the cost. Martin’s parents never had that opportunity. We may never know what happened Eugene Martin and Johnny Gosch, but that doesn’t mean we will stop trying. Eugene and Johnny, if you are out there, just know you will never be forgotten.
Next Monday, I will be giving a in-depth account of the case of The Fort Worth Missing Trio. On Friday, I will be posting about the unsolved cold case of the Long Island Serial Killer, who is still at large.
Eugene Martin has brunette hair, brown eyes and a scar on his right knee, he also goes by the nickname "gene".