Details of Disappearance
William's mother, Alice Stubenrauch, told authorities that she last saw her son at approximately 4:00 p.m. on November 9, 1991 as he left their residence in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. Witnesses saw William shortly afterwards walking to Chartiers Creek near the Ohio River with his fishing gear. His equipment was found later along the banks of the creek behind the Eat N' Park Restaurant, approximately 100 yards from a homeless persons' camp. William's gear was undisturbed and there were no signs of a struggle at the scene.
Witnesses gave conflicting reports as to his movements the afternoon he disappeared. People reported seeing William at the McKees Rocks Plaza; another person stated that the child was seen speaking to a "scruffy-looking man" in a nearby store.
An additional witness said that William was pulled into a burnt orange-painted Chevrolet Nova by an "unkempt man" that afternoon in McKees Rocks. The unidentified man and his vehicle have never been located.
William's missing child's report was delayed by several hours on November 9 because Studenrauch was playing bingo and did not realize her son had vanished until several hours after he was last seen. She later agreed to take a polygraph test, but moved away from the area before the exam could be conducted.
Authorities have said that Studenrauch was uncooperative during their initial investigation into her son's case. Her whereabouts are currently unknown; she is not listed as a suspect in William's disappearance.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that William's case may be connected to a homeless man named Joseph Cornelius. Cornelius was arrested in late 2000 for the murder of Scott Drake, a young boy from the same Pennsylvania region as William. Cornelius reportedly confessed to Drake's homicide, telling authorities that he killed the boy because Drake allegedly stole Corenlius's radio.
Cornelius lived with Helen Arlott in 1991; Arlott was a good friend of Studenrauch's at that time. Arlott, who is now deceased, claimed that Stubenrauch was a good mother during the 1991 investigation into William's case.
It is not known if there is a connection between Cornelius and William. William's fishing equipment was located near a homeless camp that Cornelius was familiar with in 1991. The case is now being re-investigated. It is unlikely that William died in an accident since his remains have never been located despite extensive searches conducted in the area.