Details of Disappearance
Alfred was last seen with Teresa Gossage on October 9, 1976. They were students at Waynesville High School, and both were the children of officers at the Fort Leonard Wood Army base. They left on a date in Alfred's car at 7:30 p.m. They never returned and have never been heard from again.
The following day, their car was found locked and abandoned on a side road in an isolated area of Fort Leonard Wood. In spite of the freezing weather, Alfred's jacket was found in the backseat of the vehicle. His hairbrush, which he never went anywhere without, was in the console. There was no evidence of foul play.
Although investigators initially thought the pair had run away, Alfred and Teresa's loved ones didn't believe this. Alfred left $1,000 behind in the bank, and he was looking forward to a hunting trip with his father and traveling to Germany for Christmas. He was a good student and planned to go to college.
In January 1977, three teenagers were murdered at Fort Leonard Wood while out on a double date. Johnny Lee Thornton, a military police officer, pulled them over as they crossed into the fort, shot the boys to death, sexually assaulted the girls, shot them also, and dumped the four bodies. One girl from the group survived by playing dead. She walked for six miles to the nearest house to call for help.
Thornton pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming he had multiple personalities, but was convicted and sentenced to three life terms plus twenty years in prison. He is considered a suspect in the disappearances of Alfred and Teresa well. Alfred's car was found abandoned not far from where the murder victims' bodies were dumped.
In spite of the circumstances, however, no evidence has been found to tie Thornton to Alfred and Teresa's disappearances. He remains in federal prison and the cases are still unsolved.