WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – September 5 marks 40 years since Johnny Gosch went missing. It’s one of Iowa’s most infamous mysteries, and a case that’s still being investigated by law enforcement.
“This case is not a cold case. It is not closed at this time,” Sgt. Jason Heintz, with West Des Moines Police, said. “It is still open, and we’re going to continue to pursue any tip really that we get so we can help bring that closure to the family, the nation, and the community that has such a vested interest in this case.”
West Des Moines Police still have four boxes of evidence in a secure room at the station, with hopes that if paired with a credible lead they can figure out what happened.
Gosch was 12 years old and delivering papers in his West Des Moines neighborhood when he vanished without a trace back on Sept. 5, 1982.
His disappearance transformed how investigators treat missing person cases across the country. Four decades later, police are hopeful advancements could offer some answers.
“The way that we view cases and we investigate them now is so much different than they were 40 years ago,” Sgt. Heintz explained. “We have a whole host of different things, new technology that can assist with expediting the investigation in these cases. We have certain things like Amber Alerts, social media platforms, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is big too with getting information out so we can try to take hold of these investigations in a much speedier fashion and increase the solvability of them and finding these children.”
If you have any information about Gosch’s disappearance, you’re asked to call West Des Moines Police at (515) 222-3320 or Polk County Crime Stoppers at (515) 223-1400.