Details of Disappearance
Zachary departed from the apartment he shared with his mother in the 400 block of north Fourth Street in Great Falls, Montana at approximately 7:30 a.m. on February 6, 1996. He was walking to Witter School at the time. Witnesses saw him walk down the alley near the 400 block of north Fifth Street shortly thereafter. He never arrived at school.
Zachary ran away once, a month prior to his disappearance, but called his mother to come get him within an hour. He lived with his mother and two siblings at the time of his disappearance.
A neighbor reported that Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was in the area of the alley around the same time Zachary was. A photo of Bar-Jonah is posted with this case summary. Another witness told authorities that he saw Zachary crossing north Sixth Street at approximately 7:45 a.m.
The witness stated that Zachary appeared to be crying and was being followed by a man, who was apparently upset. Investigators believe that the man was Bar-Jonah and that he abducted Zachary by using a stun gun to subdue the child shortly thereafter.
School officials contacted Zachary's mother when he failed to report for classes during the day. His mother filed a missing person's report later that afternoon. Zachary has never been heard from again.
Bar-Jonah was charged with Zachary's abduction and murder in 2000. Authorities suspected Bar-Jonah, whose given name was David P. Brown, preyed on young children, mainly boys. Bar-Jonah also confessed to cannibalistic activities. He bragged that he "hunted" Zachary, among other grisly claims.
He had a lengthy criminal record and served a prison sentence for the abduction and attempted murder of two Massachusetts boys in 1977. Authorities stated Zachary's body would not be recovered due to Bar-Jonah's suspected cannibalism. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for his alleged crimes.
Bar-Jonah was convicted of two unrelated counts of child molestation in Montana in February 2002. He vowed to appeal the decisions and maintained his innocence in all charges against him.
Bar-Jonah is also a possible suspect in the 1973 disappearance of Janice Pockett from Connecticut. Bar-Jonah was a teenager at the time Pockett disappeared, but apparently had a criminal background at an early age. He also resided near Janice's last known location at the time she disappeared.
Authorities also investigated the possibility that Bar-Jonah was connected to the 1997 Wyoming disappearance of Amanda Gallion. Amanda is classified as a runaway, but her Social Security number has not been used since her disappearance.
A handwritten list of names entitled "Lake Webster" was discovered in Bar-Jonah's possession in December 2001. Some reports state that Andrew Amato was among the children featured in the list, but this is inaccurate. Andrew disappeared from Webster, Massachusetts in 1978. He has not been tied with Bar-Jonah.
DNA testing conducted in 2001 on a bone located in Bar-Jonah's Montana garage proved that it was not part of Zachary's, Janice's or Amanda's remains. Andrew's DNA was not compared to the bone. Bar-Jonah was not charged in connection with any of the other disappearances. He died of a blood clot in a Montana prison in April 2008, at age 51.
All charges related to Zachary's case were dismissed against Bar-Jonah in October 2002 as the result of a lack of evidence. Zachary's mother stated that she believed her son was alive. She said that she viewed a videotape of her son frolicking in a playground in 2000.
Authorities said that they verified the tape was filmed in Italy, where the child's father was stationed with the United States military at the time. His dental records and fingerprints did not match Zachary's. His mother insists that her psychic and others believe her son is alive and she hopes his case will be reopened by law enforcement.
Investigators closed Zachary's file after allegedly connecting Bar-Jonah to his disappearance. In January 2011, over the the objections of his mother, Zachary's biological father had him declared legally dead. He can now collect on Zachary's $20,000 life insurance policy.
Zachary likes drawing and painting. He is described as a reserved but friendly child. At the time of his disappearance, he was afraid of the dark. His case remains unsolved.