Chester R. Wetmore

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Above: Chester, circa 1986

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: May 26, 1986 from Bradenton, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: August 21, 1971
  • Age: 14 years old
  • Height and Weight: 6'0, 145 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, brown eyes.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: Jeans, a blue checkered shirt and boots.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Chester was last seen leaving his family's residence in Bradenton, Florida during the evening hours of May 26, 1986. He has never been heard from again.

    James P. Barnes, a death row inmate in Florida, confessed to Chester's murder in the first episode of Werner Herzog's documentary miniseries, On Death Row, in 2012. A photo of Barnes is posted below this case summary. He was sentenced to death for the murder of Patricia Miller; he was already serving a life sentence for the murder of his estranged wife when he confessed to Miller's murder. Six weeks after his first interview with Herzog, he wrote Herzog a letter confessing to killing and burying Chester. He also confessed to the unsolved 1990 murder of Brenda Joyce Fletcher, correctly identifying the place where her body had been found. He has never been charged in either case, however, and is still awaiting execution.

    Some agencies may list September 17, 1989 or May 27, 1986 as the date of Chester's disappearance. Some may classify his case as that of an endangered runaway.

    Barnes
    Above: James Barnes

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Manatee County Sheriff's Department
    941-741-3248

    OR
    941-747-3011

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    Source Information
    Child Protection Education Of America
    Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    Florida Department of Corrections
    On Death Row
    Brevard County Sheriff's Office
    NamUs

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated October 10, 2015; details of disappearance updated.

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