Details of Disappearance
Jack was last seen near the Aspen Glen picnic grounds in Big Bear Lake, California between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. on August 6, 1995. He was picnicking there with his younger half-brother, his mother and her live-in boyfriend. Jack had an argument with his mother and her boyfriend that day and he told a witness he was tired of arguing. He apparently vanished while walking back to where the adults were. An extensive search of the area around the picnic grounds and his nearby home turned up no sign of the child. He has no history of running away.
Several days after Jack's disappearance, a friend of his family in Bakersfield, California received an automated phone call asking whether she would accept a collect call. She thought she heard Jack's voice on the line when the caller was supposed to identify himself, but the caller hung up before she could speak with him. It has not been confirmed that the caller was Jack. The only other person Jack knew in Bakersfield was his father, who was in prison in 1995. His mother and her boyfriend aren't considered suspects in his disappearance. Jack's father and mother later reconciled and now live in West Virginia.
Convicted child killer James Crummel is the prime suspect in Jack's disappearance, as well as the 1979 disappearance of 7-year-old
Charles Christopher Francis from Santa Ana, California. He was a violent serial sexual abuser a record of child molestation dating back to the 1960s. All but one of his known victims were boys in roughly the same age group as Charles and Jack. Crummel lived only a few blocks from Aspen Glen at the time Jack vanished, and later told a cellmate he had murdered the child. Authorities believe he may have dumped Jack's body in the ocean.
A photo of Crummel is posted below this case summary. In August 1967, he abducted a fourteen-year-old Wisconsin boy, molested him and beat him almost to death. He served five years of a thirty-year sentence for the crime. In 1983, he was convicted of the February 1967 murder of an Arizona boy and sentenced to life in prison, but the conviction was overturned in 1987 because of ineffective counsel. He ended up pleading guilty to kidnapping in the Arizona case and was released later that year.
In 1997, Crummel was charged with the murder of a thirteen-year-old neighbor boy, James Wilfred "Jamey" Trotter. Jamey disappeared in 1979. In 1990, Crummel "discovered" the teen's skull, but it wasn't identified until 1996. After his murder arrest, investigators approached Crummel about Jack's case and he offered to confess to Jack's murder if prosecutors would not seek the death penalty for the Trotter murder. The deal was turned down and Crummel was convicted of Jamey Trotter's murder in 2004 and sentenced to death. In June 2012, he committed suicide on death row by hanging himself with an electric cord. He didn't leave a note.
Foul play is suspected in Jack's case due to the circumstances involved in his disappearance, but no one has ever been charged in his case.
Above: James Crummel