Article about missing boys from Belfast in 1974

I found this article about Thomas Spence and John Rodgers, who’ve been missing from Belfast in Northern Ireland 36 years this month. They used to have NCMEC posters, but I can’t find them anymore. The two boys, who were 11 and 13, just vanished without a trace. (And no, their disappearances are not believed to be connected to the Troubles.)

The police seemed to be making progress in their cases, working on a pedophile theory, and actually arrested a 69-year-old man for the boys’ murders nine years ago, but the case never went anywhere and I don’t know if the suspect was ever exonerated or is even still alive. Now it seems everyone is clueless again. Thomas’s parents still live in Belfast. I don’t know about John Rodgers’s family.

It’s the kind of case I wish I could put on Charley. I would totally do international cases if I weren’t swamped already.

34 thoughts on “Article about missing boys from Belfast in 1974

  1. Princess Shantae November 4, 2010 / 5:29 pm

    Well, its your site, if you wanted to you could just post the international cases that intrested you or had good info about. You make the rules. :)

  2. Justin November 5, 2010 / 12:20 am

    Looked through my copy of ‘Missing Without Trace in Ireland’ by Barry Cummins and couldn’t find their names. I might have overlooked them, but I don’t think they are there. Wish the book had an index. Too bad. This kind of case looks like something that the author would have liked to have put in the book.

    • Meaghan November 5, 2010 / 7:44 pm

      This was in Northern Ireland, though, not Ireland proper.

      • pat June 10, 2011 / 1:29 pm

        Ireland proper”? …insulting

      • Meaghan June 10, 2011 / 4:29 pm

        Don’t be so touchy. I was just trying to differentiate between the two. I have visited Ireland and it was a lovely place.

  3. marycarney November 5, 2010 / 6:15 pm

    Interesting – they were ‘older’ kids, and presumably together – so you’d think maybe picked up in a car by someone they knew?

  4. Paris Romero November 8, 2010 / 1:03 pm

    I seem to recall that the posters are removed when the child has been recovered. I sent inquiry to NCMEC for answer – domestic and international: When are posters removed? Will post answer when received.

  5. Paris Romero November 8, 2010 / 1:30 pm

    NCMEC’s response:

    A child’s poster may be removed for more than one reason. If the child
    is recovered, the poster will be removed. Also, if the investigating
    law enforcement agency removes the child’s information from their NCIC
    computer, the poster will be removed.

    Our agency does post international cases. They would be removed for
    the same reasons mentioned above.

  6. John Rodgers/ Aaron Broughm February 3, 2011 / 1:12 am

    In your article on the missing boys. Thomas Spences family moved to England. Jim Rodgers(father) died 4 yrs after and Alice Rodgers (mother)Died a few years ago, of old age. I was adopted and had know siblings. I’m having a hell of a time proving I’m the missing boy. Mainly cause of people not wanting to believe me. But I can prove I’m him.

    • Arlene Robinson October 9, 2012 / 6:05 am

      Anne and Richard Spence did not move back to england. They moved to twinbrooke some years afterThomas went missing. they live in poleglass now. As for the book missing without trace Thomas and John do appear in it. AS my grandparents went to dublin to meet with the author to put their side across.

      • John Rodgers/ Alexander Poirot January 12, 2015 / 11:35 am

        Arlene, I’m sorry to say I’m uncertain of where your uncle Thomas is right now; but if you get the chance you could let your grandparents know I’m alive; which means he may still be to. If they need proof of who I am, let them know that your Granddads niece Alixandria Mccallum knows who I am. Thomas and I used to hand out with her. Richard and Anne know I called Alixandria Allie. Alexandria’s father , your great uncle was a jail guard.Let them know I hope there well.

    • Francine Fox November 3, 2013 / 5:25 am

      If you are John I’m you 2nd cousin you were my mother cousin plz get in touch you still have family that hope you are alive

      • John Rodgers/ Alexander Poirot January 8, 2015 / 5:48 am

        Francine I have been trying to get a hold of you via Facebook. I can now prove that I’m John. I don’t have all my memory back yet; however if you ask your mother she may recall my friend Thomas Spence had a 12 yr. old cousin that I called Allie. Allie exists, her name was Alixandria Spence and now its Alixandria Mccallum. She’s divorced! I have been talking with her via facebook and on Skype with cam and told her things that only John Rodger would or could know from her childhood in relation to me. I need to talk with you and or your mom!!! PSNI has met with Allie, Alixandria, so has media. You can reach me at or +1 519 8589949. I hope to hear from you soon. that is the email I use on both facebook and on Skype.

  7. Paris Romero February 3, 2011 / 12:41 pm

    John Rodgers/ Aaron Broughm Please contact NCMEC. They can arrange the proper research and training to confirm you are the missing child. Even though the listing has been pulled from their website, they will still be able to help you.

  8. John Rodgers/Aaron Broughm May 5, 2011 / 1:51 am

    For the record I have contacted NCMEC via there site a number of times leaving my contact info, address, email and phone with no responce. Oh and by the way the pics are still on there site. For some reason you cant find them by name, but if you type belfast males in the search, several pages in is the black and white posting still there. I guess they didn’t install them by name. But John and Thomas are still there. If I’m not John Rodgers then how would I know he fead horses with his cousin Joanne as a child. Thats something that was never reported or that as a child he was treated for falling on a nail as a child and pucturing his tail-bone area. Neither was ever reported by authorities. Only John would know those things.

  9. ciara May 25, 2011 / 3:50 pm

    john rodgers/aaron broughm,

    I hope you find answers this is an interesting case im sure its more frustrating than interesting for you though. it is a shame that john’s parents have passed away not knowing what had happened to their son, it is very sad indeed. If you are the missing john rodgers it will give hope to the families of ben needham and maddie mccann. please keep us posted
    kind regards Ciara

  10. Janet January 6, 2012 / 3:16 pm

    What else do you know about John…. where did he used to holiday. I don’t know this cousin Joanne but if you are John you are related to me and have a huge family. Jimmy went to his grave a sad man and never gave up hope. Alice’s hopes were raised (only to have final answers) when someone was accused and his garden dug up… but dashed when nothing came of it – she too never gave up. That John was adopted meant nothing – he was our family.

    • You say that I, John Rodgers was still your family regardless of blood; however if I don’t jump through the hoops you put in front of me and answer every thing to your liking, you just simple close up shop and walk away with your so called backs to me. Well I can totally understand that and that’s why I’m answering every question I can to certain members of Spence’ family and have already convinced them of my real identity; John Rodgers. There already meeting with PSNI in the coming very near future. Positive proof of identification to them. When its confirmed by authorities once and for all; believe you/ me, I will remember who was real and supportive family to me.

  11. John Rodgers/ Aaron Broughm February 2, 2012 / 11:09 pm

    But to authorities, only DNA, fingerprints and unlisted information all together can identify John Rodgers. Working in the legal field as a Paralegal for 13 yrs and then as a Private Investigator and Founder of Search International 5 Missing Persons Network; I can tell you that authorities don’t go on what you or I may know or not know from childhood. They only go on physical evidence, DNA, fingerprints, unlisted info etc… I told PSNI sometime ago I was believed I was John Rodgers and they sent me an email stating they had contacted RCMP here in Canada and that RCMP confirmed I was not him. However only weeks ago I was in communication with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa, Canada’s Capital; they informed me, that they had never been in communication with PSNI on this matter, but noted cause to believe I may in fact be John Rodgers the boy missing from Belfast in 1974. I’m waiting to hear back from them at this time. I’m still missing much of my childhood memories and working with experts on recovering memories.

    I vaguely recall going to the beach, being around horses, playing in wooded areas, and being in some kind of wooden shack or fort.

  12. John Rodgers/ Aaron Broughm February 2, 2012 / 11:28 pm

    I have never remembered much of anything prior to November end in 1974, after being found in a field of snow draped over the back end of a snowmobile semi-conscious and suffering from hypothermia in Redbridge, Ontario, Canada. I have only been able to remember vague memories. If you truly wanted to find out the truth, they would try to help me remember, not just keep asking me the same thing over and over. Experts say I suffer from a form of amnesia, cause or brought on by something horrifying that happen on or around November 27th 1974.

    I also have a Facebook account under Aaron Broughm in London, Ontario, Canada. If you want to talk and find out if I’m him, contact me and talk. Help me remember.

  13. John Rodgers / Aaron Broughm February 22, 2012 / 1:16 am

    I had my colarbone broken in childhood, prior to age 13; also I don’t know why but I can speak conversational french with never studying it, that I know of. I can draw Donald Duck in 2 minutes or less. I loved Rolph Harris songs as a child, Puff the Magic Dragon and Two Little Boys in Blue. I still love singling today and have been told I sound like Frank Sinatra. I can do immitate famous voices and have be able to since as far back as I can remember. I was in special remedial class in elementry school do to lack of reading skills or abilities; although I read at University level now. The aforementioned are diferent things I gifted with; however I dont know why, because I remember nothing from prior to age 13. Specialists have told me that memory loss of this extent is normally cause from some type of emotional shock, for example that I may have witnessed a brutal killing, been brutally raped or any other number of equally horifying things. I need help from a family member if I’m ever going to remember.

    So Janet, please contact me on here or via or even email me at:

    Sincerest Regards,

    John Rodgers

  14. claudette March 16, 2012 / 1:08 am

    Dear Janet
    Hello I am a dear close friend of Aaron Broughm there has been uncannie resembalance to John Rodgers facel features in my dear friend , Further more he does talk in a Belfast Accent when he get more Excided it gets thicker and the fact he has Like Puff magic dragon for years and little boys in blue The other year you contacted him longago cause i remember email you sent him we woke up one morin and he got you asked repeatedly about summers you spent with him and he told you he did not remember cause of memoery loss . Janet I ‘ll tell you this If and when it proven He is John Rodgers I hope in future You grow to love the man I’ve known for years a man with integarate smart loving kind and his devotion to law and justice . Our friends all have notice him as a great man of the people for the people .So call the man talk to him on phone and listen to his voice you may hear that little boy again and wonder if he is REALLY JOHN RODGERS YOUR LOVING COUSIN …….:) Just look on you tube for aaron broughms mayoral candiace 2010 peice and you be surprised what you hear and see the little boy you once knew and loved …
    Thanks Claudette Drouin mother of one of his sons

  15. Janet mcwilliams January 8, 2013 / 9:36 pm

    I might know something abt the 2 brothers disappearane ,but I need more info wats the school that 1 of them was going to its a special show on the Antrim rd sum1 said,as I mite know who did it and where the bodies are buried ,if they had taken the Shore rd bus to get to School then I’m certain I know where the bodies are buried can sum1 let me know plz thanks.

    • holly November 21, 2014 / 8:07 am

      surely if you know where there are bodies of a missing pair of brothers (which Thomas and John are not) – it doesn’t matter who they are, with this case or not, your information should be handed over

    • holly November 21, 2014 / 5:43 am

      Aaron please email me, I am Thomas’s 2nd cousin – my mum was very close to him, Arlene above is my cousin, she is Thomas sisters daughter, I have found a picture of you and the resemblance is strikingly close

  16. Francine Fox November 3, 2013 / 5:22 am

    John Rodgers is my 2nd cousin he is the
    Cousin of my mother john Rodgers mother died a few years ago of old age if anyone knows anything my e-mail is John if your out there please let us know we all still think of you you still have family hoping you are alive

    • John Rodgers/ Alexander Poirot January 8, 2015 / 6:03 am

      You all still think of me and hope I’m alive. Funny way of showing it. Because of my lack of memory issue; do to post traumatic stress disorder you’ve all turned your backs on contact with me. Well that’s all good, because my memory is starting to slowly but surely come back and once its proven that I’m John Rodgers; I’ll remember who was there every step of the way helping me. But more to the point those who weren’t…

  17. Angie Creighton February 11, 2014 / 4:10 pm

    Please go to relevant to certify the you are John Rogers and please contact you’re family. I remember when this happened and you’re family must have been devastated every second you were gone.
    Please contact newspaper Sunday World or any other Irish or Northern Irish newspaper. God bless you, you are in my prayers.

  18. Alexander Poirot November 25, 2014 / 1:19 am

    I am the John Rodgers, DOB, May 21, 1961. New evidence has come to life supporting my claim and will be presented to PSNI in the very near future by UK witness of my true identity.

    I was a former part-time Internet Telecast Preacher for a hobby; well practicing Law as a Paralegal for 13 years in my community, until I switched profession and continued on as the Chief Investigator with Trackers International Missing Persons Task Force aka Search International 5 Missing Persons Network. I am currently the CEO of this Organisation.

  19. Alixandria mccallum November 26, 2014 / 6:46 pm

    Ok just seen all the blogs . I am as poor John has got confused Joanne. ..ALixandria THomas cousin we all feed the horses together…. He called me Allie I don’t know where Joanne has come from , but as a psychologist I am aware that memories do become confused. I believe that this is John and I will help you xx

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