James William Hires, age 18, was last seen in Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey on October 17, 1981.

This case is eerily similar to that of Farren Stanberry.

James Hires was last seen when he left his home in the family car to pick up his brother.   His family learned that he was missing when his brother called to say he had not been picked up.

James had $1100 in cash on him at the time.   The next day, the family car was located in Lot D of the Philadelphia Airport.

Someone claimed that they sighted James in San Francisco in 1983, and his various website profiles seem to portray this as a confirmed sighting.

I’d really like to know the circumstances of this sighting – did someone speak to him or spend enough time with him to decide that the man they saw was James?  Or could it have been a case of mistaken identity?

San Francisco is a big place.  It would also be great to know where in San Francisco he was seen, and what circumstances he was living under.  Maybe an SRO hotel?  Were they sure the sighting was 1983?  Was it reported immediately, or had some time elapsed before the sighting was reported?  Was his social security number ever used in California?  $1100.00 was easily enough cash to catch a one-way flight to San Francisco, and rent a hotel room for a few weeks, but if he was still there in 1983, I’d think he would have had to get a job.

There is a set of unidentified remains that is currently being compared against Farren Stanberry, but if that turns out not to be a match, I think James Hires is a candidate too.  That, of course, is based on the 1983 sighting which offers no details other than “sighted in San Francisco in 1983”.

I somewhat have doubts about the 1983 sighting.  I think if it were a confirmed sighting, it would have been more specific.   I also wonder if he’d ever expressed a desire to leave the area, or mentioned San Francisco as a possible destination.

There don’t seem to be any online news articles on his case, so information is sparse.

An attempt to get more information on the sighting is underway.   I will update if I get any more information on this.


The Charley Project



7 thoughts on “James Hires

  1. were you able to find anything else on this case? $1100 is a lot of money for an 18 year old to be carrying. Maybe he did runaway but why wouldn’t he just tell his family he was moving he was of age to do so. Also it seems like it would be easy enough if the car was at the philly airport to just check flights to see if he bought a ticket. I’m thinking maybe he was murdered for the money and the car was at the airport as a ruse to look like he ran away.

      • I had some time today and was able to look through a lot of your older posts. I noticed a few times you mention the freedom of info act. I thought that was something for people in the media. I wanted to ask if you could post some more about that and how one would use that to obtain info. Would a regular person be able to use that act to obtain info from a police dept about a missing person cold case? What would one say? How does that work? Thanks for your time!

        • I will try to post something in more detail at some point, but it will take quite a bit of research since there are so many different jurisdictions (federal, then each state has their own, some are separate by county, etc) and each has their own criteria. The Freedom of Information Act is definitely not exclusively for media, though. Anyone can make a request. The one thing I like about it, is that in nearly all (or possibly all) jurisdictions, they have to respond by law. Granted, the response can be a denial of your request, but they can’t just ignore you. If they deny your request, they typically have to give a reason. When it comes to missing persons documents, it’s really hit & miss. One reason they can give for denial is “Investigative materials relating to an open case”. It seems to vary by agency as to whether an actual missing persons report is considered ‘investigative’. Florida has the Sunshine Law, which makes virtually all government documents available to the public (you may remember seeing Casey Anthony’s text messages and emails published on the internet – that was due to Florida’s Sunshine Law.) They will typically ask you to send a check with ‘not to exceed $10’ to cover their photocopying expenses. Typically it only costs a dollar for something like a missing persons report.

          Most states have a page on their official site with information on who to send the request to, and what sort of documents are exempt from release.

          Hope this helps!

          • Thanks for responding! I know Florida has the sunshine law. I’m in NJ so will look into my state. I go on the NJ missing person page all the time but it never occurred to me that I might have a chance of getting more info from the police dept. I will look into it as I have followed a few cases for years. Thanks for the info and I will let you know if I get any responses!

  2. My name is Bryan Hires. James w. Hires was my twin brother. the Information in about him being seen in California is wrong. This report has been disproven. Please update this page. After 35 years this misinformation is very upsetting. Thank you.

    • Bryan,

      Thank you for your comment. I can’t really revise the article, unfortunstely, because it will involve rewriting the whole thing. Most of the article involved my reluctance to accept that sighting as fact. But I will add at the end that his family states the sighting was disproven.

      I am very sorry for what you are going through. Is the part about the car being found at the airport accurate? I just want to be sure I word it correctly. Thank you again for posting.

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