Flashback Friday: Cynthia Gooding and Teresa Alfonso

This week’s Flashback Friday case — like my MP of the week for this week — actually multiple cases: Cynthia Robin “Cindy” Gooding, age sixteen, and her twelve-year-old friend, Teresa Armanda “Terry” Alfonso. The pair disappeared from Marathon, a small town in the Florida Keys, on August 20, 1974 — exactly 41 years, 11 months and 8 days ago.

Teresa and Cindy were dropped off at a movie theater and planned to hitchhike to a party. I’m not sure whether their parents knew about the party or whether they were allowed to go. The girls may have said they were going to see a movie when they really planned to go to the party.

I’m not sure of much of anything in this case; there is very little information available. In 2007 an article about Florida Keys missing persons and UIDs talked about Teresa a little bit and had a quote from her mom, but the article didn’t have any info I could use and, worse, didn’t even mention Cindy at all. That seems like lazy and irresponsible journalism to me; even if they  couldn’t find any of Cindy’s relatives to interview, they should have at least said Teresa disappeared with another girl.

(I did, however, find a 2010 article from the Key West Citizen. I had to buy it on Newslibrary. It talks only about Teresa, but does mention she disappeared with her friend Cynthia Gooding, and has some background info for Teresa and Cindy that I’ve added to her casefile.)

I wondered about the serial killers Gerard John Schaefer and Gerald Stano, both of which preyed on young girls and women in Florida in the 1970s, but Schaefer was imprisoned by 1974 and Stano’s stomping ground seems to have been central Florida, not nearly as far as south as the Keys. (I’m basing this on the back that Susan Basile and Gail Lorraine Joiner, both suspected Stano victims, disappeared from central Florida towns more than a five-hour drive north of Marathon.) This Instagram post (which doesn’t mention Teresa) suggests Cindy was a victim of the serial killer Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins, but I have no idea where that source is getting the information from. As far as I know Gaskins only claimed victims in the Carolinas, but I don’t know much about him.

Those men certainly weren’t the only psychopaths running around the southern U.S. in the seventies, though. If I were to guess, I’d say probably the girls were hitchhiking and got picked up by the wrong person.

3 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Cynthia Gooding and Teresa Alfonso

  1. Janny August 12, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    It reminds me of some of the things my sister and I did when we were preteen and teenagers (late 1960’s and 70’s), like hitchhiking, drinking, and going to parties when my parents thought we were safely elsewhere. It never dawned on me why my mother was so strict and wanted to know where we were all the time. Now, reading about the predators and bad people that were out in the world even then is just so scary. I think we had some pretty close calls. This might be off topic, but these cases remind me to be careful at any age, and watch closely the children that are in your care. Thank you.

    • Meaghan August 12, 2016 / 3:49 pm

      Modern teens (and adults) don’t usually hitchhike, but they still lie to their parents about their whereabouts and they still go off drinking and smoking pot and stuff on the sly. I certainly did.

      • Peter Henderson Jr. August 14, 2016 / 9:09 am


        Plenty of other reasons why teens can find themselves in danger today.

        You might like to read the FOX-TV/ News channel 10 article “Alabama teens lured offline, 1 still missing” written by Lindsey Rogers.

        Among other findings, “The (National Institutes of Health,) findings indicate that 45 percent of the teens say they’ve met someone offline that they initially met online. Of that, 5 percent said something went wrong during the encounter, including misrepresentation, violence, rape or attempted rape.”

        Full article at link:

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