Details of Disappearance Curtis was visiting the family of his father, Curtis Williams, for the Thanksgiving holidays in Newark, New Jersey on November 18, 1989. His mother, Lashawn McCoy, had custody of him and they resided in South Carolina at the time.
Curtis was last seen walking slightly behind his father, his father's girlfriend, Sabetha Moore, and the two baby daughters Moore and Williams had together. The family was window-shopping in downtown Newark.
Williams said he reached behind to take his son's hand as the group crossed an intersection, but Curtis had vanished. The child has never been seen again. An extensive search yielded no evidence as to his whereabouts.
Williams was questioned numerous times over the years by the New Jersey investigators regarding the child's fate. Lashawn claims that her son did not want to travel to New Jersey for the visitation and that she had to reassure him the trip would be fine. She moved her family to New Jersey after her son disappeared in 1989.
Williams was jailed, along with Moore, on fraud charges in September 2005. They allegedly stole security deposits from prospective tenants of an apartment and also falsely reported Curtis as a dependent on a loan application.
Authorities initially believed Williams had hidden Curtis in the local area and the child was living under an assumed name, but their search turned up no evidence that he was alive. In January 2006, Williams was additionally charged with his son's murder.
Authorities stated they had opened a grand jury investigation into Curtis's disappearance and Moore testified that Williams killed his son and then reported him as a missing person to cover up the crime. Moore did not, however, know where Curtis's body was; nor did she have any other evidence to support her statement.
In May 2007, Williams pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension in connection with his son's disappearance. He was sentenced to time served and five years' probation, and was released from custody immediately. The murder and fraud charges were dropped.
Williams admitted to killing son and stated he buried the child's corpse in a shallow grave under the New Jersey Turnpike in Jersey City, New Jersey. Prosecutors stated they did not have enough evidence to prove the murder charge; hence, the plea agreement. Lashawn criticized the arrangement as being too lenient.
Numerous unsuccessful searches have been conducted for Curtis's remains. Authorities believe Williams was telling the truth about the body's location, but they have not located anything at the specified place. His case remains classified as a non-family abduction with some agencies.
- Newark Police Department
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 30, 2010; age-progression updated.