Police say that the chances of finding a missing person are greatest during the first 48 hours after their disappearance. After that, their case starts to grow cold. Sometimes the missing person is presumed dead. At other times, theories develop that keep their loved ones guessing — and hoping. This is true of Maura Murray, who disappeared 13 years ago after emailing her college professors that she was taking time off due to a death in the family. Turns out, there was no death. Oxygen’s “The Disappearance of Maura Murray,” premiering Sept. 23 at 8:15/7:15c, sheds light on unexplored leads.
Louis Mackerley went missing in his hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania on June 7, 1984. That day, he returned home from school and told his baby sitter he was going to visit a friend, two doors down. Louis, 7, never made it to his neighbor’s house. Police believe a group of neighborhood boys chased him until he ran into a nearby hot dog shop. He reportedly hid out in the shop for 45 minutes before leaving. The owner of the hot dog shop has since passed away.
According to Missing Persons of America, Louis told his parents, his school nurse and a psychologist that he had been molested by a couple named Frank and Elizabeth. The police were called, but Louis was unable to provide the abusers’ last names or address.
Louis was one of the first missing children featured on milk cartons. The case received national attention. Despite that, Louis’ brother Harold Mackerley has claimed that Allentown police did not take the report seriously enough. Instead, he feels they believed that someone in the family abducted the boy.
"This destroyed my parents," he told WFMZ. "The cops, literally for, like, the first three years, were useless, before they finally said, 'Maybe somebody outside the family actually did do something,.’”
Police, however, maintain that they have followed up on hundreds upon hundreds of leads. One such lead: that Louis was seen by a nearby creek with an unidentified man and woman.
Louis' family still has hope that he will be found.
If you have any information on Louis’ disappearance, please contact the Allentown Department of Public Safety, Missing Persons Unit, at 610-437-7721.
[The Charley Project]