Kurt Newton

I found this anniversary article of four-year-old Kurt Newton‘s disappearance from a remote campsite in Maine, near the Canadian border. He’s been missing for 35 years this month. Also, a 1979 article about the same kid and his parents’ search for him in the years following his disappearance.

That poor family. I sit there imagining them licking all those stamps and sealing all those envelopes, sending posters to every school superintendent in the country. And that colossal search effort in the woods — it looks pretty certain he was kidnapped, it seems like if he had been in the woods they would have found him, with all the searchers and bloodhounds and helicopters. The abduction theory wasn’t considered for weeks, until after the search effort was exhausted. I can’t blame the cops there — Kurt vanished from a very remote wilderness area, no one saw or heard anything suspicious, and people simply weren’t as aware of child kidnappings as they are now. But of course by the time they got around to thinking of that possibility, Kurt and whoever took him were both long gone. The abduction conclusion here was reached more through process of elimination than anything else.

I wonder if his parents are still alive, or if they had any more kids after his disappearance, or if they ever gave up hope. I wonder, if he is still alive, whether he remembers them at all or has some vague sense of unease about his origins.

28 thoughts on “Kurt Newton

  1. Princess Shantae September 12, 2010 / 12:23 am

    Yeah, somebody might of taken him, but still I wonder how easy it would be to stay lost in the woods. I’ve never been to Maine but I hear the woods up there are nothing like woods in other places. I know of adults who get lost in the woods and never get found, seems like a little boy could get lost even easier, especialy if he wandered pretty far before he even knew he was lost. Little kids can move so fast!
    And in Maine there are lots of bears in the woods. If you died in the woods and the bears found you I don’t guess there would be much left to find.

    My son is eight now, but when he was three he wandered off at my husband’s parents house. Scared us all about half to death and when we finally found him he was almost a mile away down the road and he hadn’t even realized he was lost. He just got to walking and never slowed down. And this was where there weren’t much woods around, mostly farm fields.

    • Meaghan September 12, 2010 / 1:19 am

      They checked on the bear theory and found no evidence to support it. Bears don’t generally attack children, and if one had attacked Kurt (or his corpse) it would leave evidence. And, rough and wild the woods may be, the search was so thorough I find it hard to believe they would have missed him. During the search, Kurt’s dad lost a pen twice. Both times, other searchers found it later and returned it to him.

      I’ve been hiking before, but I always take a buddy and never stray from the trail. I’ve read too many lost-in-the-woods stories.

  2. Zoe September 12, 2010 / 4:43 am

    One of those stories that ties you up. Hadn’t heard of him before. I am undecided on where he may have ended up. Honestly sounds like his parents scoured the place with a fine tooth comb. But you still never know.

    Still in New Zealand recently we had a four year old boy go missing and they scoured the river near where they found his bike for a week or so, police went as far as saying they were 99% sure he wasn’t in the river, and then a couple of days after they stop looking officially he was found by members of the public in the river.

    I think his parents sound amazing though. Wish they had been able to know one way or another.

    • Meaghan September 12, 2010 / 5:02 am

      I think if he did wander off in the woods and died, there is probably nothing left to find by now. Think of all the deer that die in the woods and their carcasses just disappear, consumed by animals and the elements. A four-year-old child is smaller than a deer.

      Though you never know. Once in awhile they turn up a dead body that’s, like, thousands of years old. A few years ago they found a child’s skull in Washington state and they were speculating as to which missing kid it would be, then it turned out the remains were pre-Columbian.

  3. Sara September 12, 2010 / 12:06 pm

    I googled his parents’ names and got a 2010 obituary for a family member that had them in the same town in Maine, so apparently they are both still living.

    I wonder if they were able to clear any sex offenders living/visiting the area. That might have been near impossible to do back then, especially considering they could have come over from Canada. This is a horribly sad story.

  4. Princess Shantae September 12, 2010 / 2:28 pm

    Zoe, your story about the little boy in New Zealand is very similar to something that happened in Northern Virginia about fifteen years ago. I was going to school in the area at the time and I remember it very clear. A little girl two years old was playing outside with her mom and her mom went inside to get her a sweater, and when she came back the girl was gone. They looked everywhere for her and the belief was she was kidnapped. But after a week or so she turned up in the river which was a quarter mile away. Not very far if you move as fast as most kids that age can. She’d aparently gone down there and fell in and drowned. But at one point people were so sure somebody took her.

  5. Heather September 12, 2010 / 2:49 pm

    The big wheels he had been riding ended up at a dump site. I wonder if they were able to fingerprint it to see who put it there. I doubt the kidnapper, if there was one, would bother with relocating it after taking a child. Maybe a good samaritan found it and dumped it there thinking it was trash but who last touched it and where that person found it could be a vital lead in determining what direction the child wondered off to. What unimaginable agony this family must face in not knowing where their child is.

  6. Jaime September 12, 2010 / 7:32 pm

    The Burlington Times News has an article on 2 does found 8 years apart one in sept 1990 and the other is the little boy found in mebane county in sept 1998. At the bottom of the article they have 5 or 6 missing people that yout dont have listed on Charley. The bad part is they dont have any pictures with them. I thought I might tell you maybe you could find their pictures. The first 2 cases listed are men who disappeared in march 1984 and sept of 1985 respectively. I believe the missing are from alamance county if I remebered how to spell that correctly

  7. Jaime September 12, 2010 / 7:35 pm

    sorry its 4 people John Prange Masse, Clifton Farrington, Cynthia Kelly, and Jana Michelle Morton.

  8. Jaime September 12, 2010 / 7:46 pm

    Good Morning America has started a short special on missing people called Vanished so far they have profiled Lindsey Baum, Susan Powell, and Elizabeth Ann Gill. Second, Discovery ID is launching a second season of Disappeared in October.

    • Princess Shantae September 13, 2010 / 1:26 am

      Or maybe Kurt went to the dump first and parked his big wheel there. If he was like lots of little boys, a dump or a junk yard would be right up his alley.

  9. Zoe September 13, 2010 / 7:00 am

    The bike wasn’t initially found at the dump, it was “found … just before the steep rise leading to the dump. It was off the road, at the edge of the woods, … thinking it had been discarded, Hanson carried it over the rise and heaved it atop the trash heap”.

    Was thinking about this again today and how unlikely it seemed he had been taken because it was miles from anywhere but someone had seen a car “a white station wagon roar out of the campground …shortly after the time Kurt disappeared” maybe it was really that random, someone either with good or bad intentions just happened upon him and took him … parked the bike off the road so it looked like maybe he had gone into the woods.

    • Will September 15, 2010 / 1:49 am

      The fact that it was found at all–and Kurt wasn’t–is the most troubling thing to me. No four-year-old I’ve ever known would willingly leave his Big Wheel behind anywhere.

  10. Princess Shantae September 15, 2010 / 10:35 pm

    Not unless he wanted to go someplace where the big wheel couldn’t go. In a camp ground that would mean pretty much off the road or path. Big wheels don’t do so good on rough ground though they are better than a regular bike or trike.

  11. Ally M September 16, 2010 / 9:12 am

    One could actually make a web site simply devoted to children taken from their homes or children disappearing in the woods during family outings. Sometimes I wonder how many ended up alive and being raised by someone else. Like Nyleen Marshall’s case which just chills me to the bone (the supposed abductor contacting her mother after she was taken), I think thee are more to these abductions than we know.

    I had no idea you had a blog Meaghan. Just found you by accident.

    • danielle September 17, 2010 / 9:17 pm

      I was searching for an update on Nyleen Marshall’s case and just now read the mom was murdered in Mexico around 1996. Why does this happen to some families?? too bad…

      • Meaghan September 17, 2010 / 9:22 pm

        I call them lottery families: they hit the lottery for bad luck. See Arlin Henderson. His father died the year before he disappeared, and some years later his sister was killed by her ex-husband in a murder-suicide. His mother is still alive. I don’t think there are any other children.

  12. Princess Shantae September 18, 2010 / 3:28 pm

    How did Nyleen’s mom come to get killed in Mexico? Was it like a personal thing, or what? I know Mexico can be a very dangerous place to go if you aren’t careful and sometimes even when you are careful.
    I say Amber Swartz Garcia’s family really hit the lottery for bad luck. Her father gets killed on the job before she’s even born, and she’s born with hearing loss. She is in a car wreck and is left with migraines. Then she gets kidnapped and her mother is harrassed by that crazy Binder person.

  13. Zoe September 19, 2010 / 10:21 am

    That Nyleen Marshall case just makes me angry for some reason. If the man who wrote and called people about her had taken her or not he is a sick *&^%.

    I had a talk with my son the other day about who he should and shouldn’t accept rides from. Been reading too much about missing kids …

    • Meaghan September 19, 2010 / 3:10 pm

      I’ve accepted rides from strangers before, on certain occasions. One time in particular, I had very little choice. I was in Arkansas and very sick with the flu, and walked half a mile to the pharmacy in the August heat with a 102 degree fever. I picked up medicine and was on my way back when I suddenly realized they’d given me the wrong stuff. (This was in 2005 and the pharmacy was packed with Hurricane Katrina refugees trying to pick up their meds; things were very chaotic.) I went back to the pharmacy in tears, feeling very weak, and got the correct medicine, and then a man offered to take me back to my college campus.

      I accepted his offer because I honestly don’t think I could have made it back on my own. He took me back without incident.

      • Princess Shantae September 19, 2010 / 3:57 pm

        He probably got your flu though.

  14. Princess Shantae September 19, 2010 / 1:54 pm

    They tell you your kids shouldn’t be afraid of strangers but I say its way better to be scared than be sorry or worse. Fear is a protection. Fear is what keeps most of us from doing stupid or dangerous things, and a person who has no fear is either reckless or he’s too dumb to take care of himself.

  15. Jeri May 6, 2011 / 4:01 am

    I have followed Kurts case since it happened. He was a shy child and I find it hard to believe he went into the woods. His sister said he was afraid of the woods. The key to this is to go back to the beginning and maybe look at who ever found his big wheel. Google his name and read the reports on this. I am writing a book on unsolved mysteries and crimes in New England.

    • Kelli Sinclair April 25, 2016 / 6:17 am

      I tried that but haven’t found anything on the man Jack that picked up the bike beside the road and put it on the dump. I’m wondering if they dug through the dump.

  16. Drew May 24, 2012 / 6:20 pm

    It is scary to think that a child wonders off. I live in Maine and yes it’s sometimes hard to find someone. There could have been a bear or possible a mountain lion could have done it as well. They do go after children that are small.

  17. danahy@comcast.net March 2, 2014 / 12:14 am

    it looks as if there are a lot of ponds in that area? could kurt have drowned and his body never found

    • Meaghan March 2, 2014 / 10:59 am

      Seems unlikely to me, since they did an extensive search of the area and would have presumably checked all the ponds. Still, it’s hardly outside the realm of possibility.

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