Details of Disappearance Goettsch was last seen in front of his residence in Abilene, Texas on March 31, 1981. He has never been heard from again.
Early in 1981, Goettsch received a $3,000 worker's compensation check for an injury he sustained working in the oil fields. This was the most money he had ever had since completing his military servince in 1980. He opened a checking account, repaid some loans, lent $300 to a friend and rented an apartment.
Goettsch was supposed to move his belongings from his trailer into his new apartment on the day of his disappearance, but he never did. He left behind all of his possessions, including his pickup truck, and $1,079 in his bank account.
Goettsch led a transient lifestyle at the time of his disappearance. As a result, his family did not report his disappearance for two months. He had a girlfriend in Australia, but he has not contacted her since March 1981.
Goettsch was involved with drugs in 1981 and had previously been arrested on a marijuana charge. In 1993, Roney Harper, one of Goettsch's associates, walked into a police station in Walker County, Georgia while intoxicated and confessed to murdering Goettsch.
He said he shot and beat him to death because he believed Goettsch was working as an undercover narcotics agent. He said he had left the body in a remote field and had not buried or attempted to conceal it. Haney led police to the field, but a search turned up no sign of any human remains.
Haney was charged with murder, but recanted his confession afterwards. Authorities could not find any evidence to corroborate his statement, although they believe he had in fact killed Goettsch. The grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict Haney for the murder, and he was released.
Investigators stated they would charge Harper with murder again if Goettsch's body or other corroborating evidence was located. Harper's current whereabouts are unknown.
Goettsch's disappearance remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved.
- Abilene Police Department
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 15, 2008; details of disappearance updated.