Flashback Friday: John Butler

This week’s Flashback Friday is John Arthur Butler, a tall, skinny fifteen-year-old boy who disappeared from Newport Beach, California on August 21, 1961 — nearly 53 years ago. If still alive, he’d be almost 68 today. He’s not the only John Butler on Charley; there’s also a John Clifton Butler, much older, also missing from California.

Young John’s case was added to the NCMEC a few years ago and he has an AP now as well as two pictures. I don’t have much on him, but his fate is pretty obvious: last seen surfing. Surfboard found but no sign of surfer. I suppose it’s possible he met with some other fate, but the circumstances strongly indicate he drowned.

6 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: John Butler

  1. Jose July 18, 2014 / 7:06 am

    I think John was attacked by a shark. According to NamUs, there were “questionable markings” on his surfboard. Southern California Is Infested with sharks.

    • Meaghan July 18, 2014 / 10:26 am

      Maybe the shark just attacked his surfboard.

    • Liz Amador September 7, 2014 / 4:44 am

      I live in newport ca shark sightings are not common.The waters are more infested with seaweed and surfers then sharks.

  2. Edward Lynn Fineman July 27, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    My name is Edward Lynn Fineman , this year I will be 70 ye

    ars old.
    You may see (me) under this name on FACEBOOK.

    Check my photographs ,
    I found a flyer,
    At my rental Shed,
    124 n.e. 90 street,
    SO Portal , Florida.33138..
    Years back.

    Check the pictures of (me)
    When I was 13 years,
    Year 1 9 6 1.

    People held me upstairs,
    At 9011 n.e. 2 avenue,O
    Miami Shores,Florida.

    Until I signed a paper,
    There is photographs,
    Me, two men ,
    And a baby child,
    They told me,
    Did I want anything ,to happen,
    To the baby.

    I finally signed the paper.

    They also kept me upstairs in bed,

    Drugged. Maybe they ,
    Thought I was,

    Butler ?

    Make your own

    My family promised Royalty s ,

    For many. Hollywood ,
    Big name pictures
    They put me in.

    No one in a whole Decade,
    Cares to even look into any of it !
    What do I think ?

    • LAUREL July 31, 2018 / 3:57 pm

      I am John’s sister and the one who has pushed to have him listed with NCMEC. He was not attacked by a shark. So Calif is not infested with sharks. There is a lot more evidence that he didn’t drown. Biggest problem was total lack of police work to follow leads after the board was found. He was 15 in 1961. Would love to know if he is still alive.

  3. David Lindsey April 1, 2019 / 4:01 pm

    It is unfortunate that there are no photos of the surf-board that I can find. Shark attacks in the waters off of San Diego are rare but hardly impossible. In 1959, diver Robert Pamperin was almost certainly killed by a large shark, probably a Great White. In 1989, kayaker Tamara McAllister was killed by another large shark (her recovered body had a 13 inch long shark bite wound in her thigh) and her companion, Roy Stoddard, is still missing. Both kayaks were recovered, one had three large holes in it, caused by an attacking shark. This was also presumably a Great White. In 2018 a 13-year old boy was seriously injured by a Great White off Encinitas.

    There is no good reason to patently dismiss the probability John Arthur Butler was attacked and killed by a shark. It happens, and in lieu of the absence of any real evidence to the contrary, it is the most likely explanation for his disappearance.

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