An Oregon teenager attends a county fair and never returns home.
Each August, the Coos County Fair rolls into Myrtle Point, Oregon. For many, it's a weeklong celebration. To 14-year-old Jeremy Bright and his close friend, Johnny, it was one of the high points of the year. Normally, Jeremy lived a hundred miles away in Grants Pass, where his mother worked. But during the week of the fair, he and his younger sister stayed with their stepfather in Myrtle Point. On Thursday, Jeremy and Johnny enjoyed the festivities at the fair. Around 4:45 that same afternoon, Jeremy made a long distance call to his mother, Diane. He told her he was having a great time at the fair. She told Jeremy she'd be back in Myrtle Point in two days to pick him up. Five hours later at 9:40 PM, Jeremy showed up at a local tavern owned by his grandmother. There he met his stepfather and asked to borrow some money. It was the last time Jeremy was ever seen by his family. Two days later, Diane arrived in Myrtle Point as planned. She went to pick up Jeremy at his stepfather's house, but her son never showed up:
"I went in and on the TV set was his house keys from our Grants Pass apartment and his wallet and his new watch that he told me he'd bought. I knew when I found those things that he was around somewhere because he wouldn't leave without them."
On Saturday night, Diane was worried enough to contact the police. At first, Sergeant Steve Dalton of the Coos County Sheriff's Department believed Jeremy had simply run away:
"He did like the fair. There was the thought that perhaps he was hiding out, intending to leave with the fair people and I've explored that possibility in every way that I can think of. However in this particular case, I've talked to family members and friends of him that knew him well. And he was just not, from what I can learn, the type of kid who would have struck out on his own."
On Sunday, August 17, 1986, the fair closed down. Myrtle Point was buzzing about Jeremy's disappearance, and gradually, conflicting stories began to emerge. According to one rumor, Jeremy attended one of Myrtle Point's many parties, and drank a beer laced with a powerful drug. Another story claimed that three older teenagers showed up at a local swimming hole and harassed Jeremy and his friends. According to Sergeant Dalton, this information came from a jailhouse informant:
"They subsequently took him to a cabin, maybe within ten miles of the Myrtle Point area, and attempted to nurse him back to health... he died as a result of that injury, either from loss of blood or from infection or what have you. That same source... indicated that his body would found within 200 feet of this cabin in a shallow grave."
Police searched the area surrounding the cabin but found nothing. For Diane Bright, the rumors about her missing son were difficult to handle:
"All of them are hard to think about. Every time I'd hear a new one, I have nightmares for a week or so. The one that I hope is not what happened is one where he suffered for two weeks before he died and they buried his body, because the thought of him suffering for two weeks just makes me sick."
Jeremy Bright has scars on his forehead and nose and a mole on his chin. The prime suspect in his disappearance recently died in prison, and there are no new leads. However the case is still open.
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season one with Robert Stack and coming soon with Dennis Farina.