The disappearance of an 8-year-old boy in 1971 resulted in one of the largest missing persons searches in the southern Adirondacks and remains one of it’s biggest mysteries. The mystery devastated a family who fell under suspicion for quite some time. They never received the closure of finding out what happened to their son, Douglas Legg. With today’s investigative and forensic tools, perhaps this disappearance could have been solved.
Forty-three years ago little Douglas disappeared walking back to his family’s camp. He was sent back to the lodge by his uncle who insisted on Douglas changing his clothes before heading out on a family hike. Long pants were in order due to Poison Ivy in the area. Although the distance Douglas had to walk was very short and on a straight path, he never returned and was never seen again.
A six week search, which included U.S. Air Force planes, helicopters, rescue dogs from all over the country, and well over 600 searchers turned up nothing. Rumors started and fingers were pointed at relatives and friends. Police theorized that Douglas may have ended up in a swamp in the middle of the Adirondack woods. Others felt Douglas might have been abducted and murdered.
There were occasional leads over the years which included the following:
- A woman undergoing psychiatric treatment stated that a boy fitting Douglas Legg’s description had been kidnapped and murdered by one of her relatives. This turned out to be a false memory.
- A man on leave from the Navy in 1973 was hunting with a friend on the Santanoni Preserve and chased a deer across a peninsula which lead to an area approximately 1/2 mile from the lodge that Douglas Legg’s family had stayed at in 1971. This hunter, while separated from his friend in the woods, stumbled upon a small skull and partial skeleton which he believed to be human.
He told his friend about the discovery of skeletal remains but never reported the findings to police. He was in the Navy and had to return to duty. These men were not aware of Douglas’ disappearance and it was not until 1993 that the hunter learned of the renewed search for Douglas. He immediately called the police to report his story. Police had the man, now a resident of Montana, accompany them to the island but no remains and/or evidence were ever found.
Thousands of people go missing every year in the United States. Many people disappear while out on walks and/or camping in the woods. I thought this video was very interesting considering the investigation was started by a police officer. Do you know someone who vanished off the face of the earth? There are many, many websites dedicated strictly to missing people. Men, women, and children of all races and ages vanish every single day in the United States. If you discount the suicides, parental abductions, murders, and the people who do not want to be found, there are a significant number of unexplained disappearances. Feel free to leave me a comment below.
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