Flashback Friday: Dermot Kelly

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Dermot Faulkner Kelly, who disappeared from Oglesby, Illinois on January 30, 1972, at the age of sixteen. The circumstances of his case make it unclear whether he died in a drowning accident/suicide or, perhaps, left of his own accord to make a new life elsewhere. If he did run away he didn’t take anything with him, and there hasn’t been any sign of him since 1972.

Dermot Kelly article

A reporter I’ve been in touch with recently has run a very good article on the disappearance of Dermot Kelly; he disappeared forty years ago yesterday, at the age of sixteen.

What I hadn’t known before I spoke to this reporter is that his disappearance may very well be a simple drowning accident or suicide. The Chicago Tribune piece I’d read about his disappearance, written two years after he vanished, said nothing about it, and even the NCMEC didn’t know. But they found Dermot’s shoes and jacket on the banks of a semi-frozen river, a set of bare footprints leading across the ice, and no returning set. And they found a rifle, probably his, under the ice. (If he did die there, I’d be inclined towards accident; if he wanted to kill himself why not use the rifle?)

However, it would be highly unusual for this body to NEVER be found, and Dermot’s parents later decided he’d staged his disappearance or something and ran away. He was declared legally dead in 1992, but in his mom’s obit last year he was listed as having survived her.

I doubt we will ever know what really happened here.