John Sapienza

John, circa 1997

  • Missing Since 02/24/1997
  • Missing From St. Johnsville, New York
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 05/06/1934 (89)
  • Age 62 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8, 135 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A watch and a wedding ring. Clothing unknown, but he normally wears blue shirt and flat sneakers.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) 1997 Chevrolet Astro van (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Gray hair, brown eyes. John has blond highlights in his hair, which he wears in bangs, and he may have a mustache. He wears eyeglasses.

Details of Disappearance

John was last seen in Amsterdam, New York on February 24, 1997. He and his wife, Charlene, had separated more than a week earlier and Charlene moved in with a friend in the 400 block of Guy Park Avenue. They argued on February 21 and John allegedly told his wife she might never see him again.

On February 23, Charlene called the police to complain that John was stalking her. On February 24 he went to the bank, angry that he hadn't been able to stop payment on a $10,000 check to Charlene.

John planned to travel cross-country in a mobile home to visit his daughter in California. He never arrived in California and he has never been heard from again. His 1997 Chevrolet Astro van was located approximately thirty days after his disappearance at a grocery store parking lot in New Hartford, New York. The store manager said it had been there since around the time Sapienza disappeared.

On March 20, 1997, five days after John's van was found and seven days before a friend reported him missing, Charlene filed a power of attorney John had allegedly signed years earlier. The document gave her control over her husband's finances and real estate.

Beginning in October of that year, she would withdraw what would total $480,000 from his investment accounts. In early 1998, she moved to Las Vegas with a boyfriend. The police stated Charlene didn't seem interested in locating her husband and refused to take a lie detector test.

An unknown individual provided the Social Security Administration with a death certificate for John, giving the date of death as April 15, 1998.

John is missing under suspicious circumstances. His daughter stated he cared very much about his money and material possessions and wouldn't have left them all behind to start a new life. John's daughter believes he was murdered, but his wife speculated that he left of his own accord, perhaps to travel overseas. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • New York State Police 315-866-7275

Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 15, 2017; details of disappearance updated.