A 17-year-old boy vanishes after a party, then his body is found five days later in a ravine 500 yards from where the party was held.
On October 28, 1981, three young boys in Newburgh Heights, Ohio, made a frightening discovery in a ravine: a dead body. Other than some scratches and bruises, the body showed no obvious sign of injury. One tennis shoe was found in a nearby pile of rocks. The other shoe was missing. Several hours later, the body was identified as 17-year-old Kurt Sova.
An autopsy revealed that Kurt had died no more than a day and a half before his body was found. Yet his parents had reported him missing five days earlier. Where was Kurt Sova during the five days he was missing? How did he die and where was he killed?
Kurt lived with his parents in a quiet neighborhood. He was the youngest of four boys, and the closest to his parents. Dorothy Sova is Kurt’s mother:
Kurt left home for the last time late on a Friday afternoon. One block from his house, he met up with a friend who was on his way to a party. When Kurt didn’t come home that night, his mother knew something was wrong:
When Kurt wasn’t home by Saturday morning, his parents began calling his friends. Kurt’s father, Ken, searched for him around the neighborhood. There was no sign of Kurt. On Sunday, the Sovas registered Kurt as a missing person with the police. Meanwhile, his mother, Dorothy, covered the neighborhood with missing flyers:
On Sunday afternoon, Dorothy learned that Kurt had been at a party on Friday night at a duplex less than two miles from where the Sovas lived. According to Dorothy, the party was given by a girl named Susan:
But a pizza delivery man contradicted Susan. He stated that there had been a party at the duplex on Friday night. Dorothy contacted Susan again, and this time she admitted Kurt had been there. Susan also said that more than a dozen people had dropped by. Some of them were older than Kurt and most of them were people he had never met. Susan also told Dorothy that Kurt had been drinking heavily. But those who knew him say that Kurt was not much of a drinker. Dorothy talked to one of Kurt’s friends:
Five days after the party, Kurt’s body was found in a ravine just 500 yards from Susan’s duplex. Lt. Robert Carras of the Newburgh Heights Police:
The police searched the area for clues. They found Kurt’s left shoe wedged in some nearby rocks. But, they never found his right shoe. Kurt’s body was taken to the coroner’s office for an autopsy. It was determined that he had died only 24 to 36 hours before his body was found, which meant that he had been alive for at least three days after he left the party. However, Chief Deputy Coroner Dr. Lester Adelson couldn’t determine the exact cause of death:
Dorothy Sova wasn’t buying it:
Dorothy began to piece together a series of strange events that occurred during the five days her son was missing. A friend of Kurt’s named David Trusnik claimed that he saw Kurt three days after he disappeared. Kurt and another boy were walking along a busy street less than a mile from the Sova home. According to David Trusnik:
That same day, a stranger who had been seen around the Sovas’ neighborhood noticed Kurt’s missing poster in the window of a local record store. He apparently told the store manager he might as well take down the poster because the person on it would be found dead in two days. The manager was skeptical; however, she soon had a reason to be afraid:
Police briefly questioned the man, who seemed to be mentally unstable. But there was no evidence he’d committed a crime, and he was released. By the time Kurt was found dead, the man had disappeared. But there would be another lead. On the very day Kurt’s body was found, Dorothy got an early morning phone call from Susan, the woman who had the party:
Kurt’s father, Ken, went to Susan’s house:
Dorothy thinks she knows what happened:
Dorothy and Ken are certain of one thing; 24 hours before his body was found, Kurt was not in the ravine. Ken says that he had carefully searched there and found nothing:
Three months after Kurt died, the mystery of his death intensified. The body of Eugene Kvet, a boy Kurt used to know, was found in another ravine on the same street, just two-and-a-half miles from where Kurt’s body was discovered. Both boys had been missing for a few days before they died, and Eugene’s right shoe was never found.
This case is still open and classified as a “probable accident.” New investigators assigned to the case are hopeful they can determine how Kurt died.