Details of Disappearance
Bruce was last seen near Buckhorn Flat in the Angeles National Forest in California on July 12, 1960. He was camping with a group of approximately 80 children and adults from the Young Men Christian's Association (YMCA) in Los Angeles, California at the time. He was playing with two other children about 300 yards from the YMCA campsite when he became separated from them and was never seen again.
The group realized Bruce was missing just a few minutes after he disappeared and they conducted a search of the area, but turned up no signs as to his whereabouts.
Authorities initially believed Bruce had become lost or injured in the mountains, and a massive search was conducted in the days following his disappearance. The area where he disappeared is very rugged with many chasms and cliffs. Bruce is now believed to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances, however. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and resided in the 11000 block of Dempsey Avenue in Grenada Hills, California in 1960.
Authorities believe Mack Ray Edwards was responsible for Bruce's disappearance, and a string of other children's disappearances and homicides in California. In 1970, Edwards pleaded guilty to killing three California children and sentenced to death at his own request. He confessed to killing Brenda Howell
, Donald Baker
and Roger Madison
as well, and authorities believe he was also most likely responsible for the disappearances of Thomas Bowman
, Ramona Price
and Karen Tompkins
Edwards lead authorities to a site where he said he had buried some of his victims, but no evidence was located. He died by suicide on death row in 1971. A photograph of Edwards is posted with this case summary. His alleged victims ranged in age from seven to sixteen years old.
Bruce's case was reopened in 2007 as authorities renewed the search for the bodies of Edwards's victims. He was employed as a heavy equipment operator in the 1950s and 1960s, and helped construct many highways across the state of California. Investigators believe he may have buried the children's remains under the highways.
Foul play is suspected in Bruce's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.