John Wagner, age 16, went missing from Monroe City, Missouri on February 17, 1968.

He was last seen by family when he dropped his younger brother, Mark, off at a school dance.  He never returned to pick up his brother afterwards.

His truck, with his keys, coat, and gloves inside, was found in an alley off of Main Street in Monroe City.

An older article adds another detail, that he was last seen at an ice cream store.  I do think this is correct, as this was from an article that was published right after it happened.

There have been a lot of rumors pertaining to John’s disappearance, and the word on the street has always been that John was involved in an altercation with one or two young men that night, over one of their girlfriends being interested in John.   Two male persons of interest were given polygraphs immediately following John’s disappearance, but the results were not announced.

Monroe City is a very small town, and after looking at it through Google Street View and Google Earth, it doesn’t appear to have changed much since 1968.  The buildings on Main Street appear to be from the 1960’s or earlier, and I don’t see any other major commercial areas.  My guess, is that the ice cream store was on Main Street, and it was probably one of the only hangouts for teens.  After dropping his brother off at the dance (both the junior high and high school were a very short distance from Main Street), John likely stopped there, and I believe he parked the truck in the alley himself.

There is no ice cream store there now, that I can see, but there are only two alleys that I can find off of Main Street.   One is next to what is now Peggy Sue’s Diner, the other is toward the other end of Main Street, next to the building that now has a sign that reads “Lake Gazette Classifieds”.



The police have recently started looking into John’s disappearance again, and have attempted to talk to the individuals who were believed to have been responsible for his disappearance.  Nearly a half century later, they still refuse to talk.   Like the investigator is quoted as saying in the article, that itself is very telling.

One of the more recent articles on John’s case describes the rumor of his disappearance in enough detail, even specifying that he fell back and hit his head, that I believe there are eyewitness accounts.   Someone, if not several people, saw it happen.  I think it was more than rumor, especially with the refusal of both men to cooperate.  Is that not enough to bring charges?

John’s sister believes that this altercation occurred, and that nobody was meant to be killed, but that the person(s) involved panicked and hid his body.   She stated that she does not want to prosecute anyone, she just wants to know what happened to her brother, and where he is, so she can give him a proper burial.

These men would be in their 60’s now, and have had their whole lives to live out, while John did not.  They probably have children and grandchildren now, and it disgusts me that they still refuse to talk, especially if it was an accident.  What is wrong with people?

I really hope that they are able to bring charges, it sounds to me like they have enough.  Even if the case were not successfully prosecuted, I still think it would be worth it.   If the men involved refuse to talk now, there is really nothing to lose, short of a possible deathbed confession.  My guess is that one of them would talk if charges were brought – and if it was indeed an accident, whoever talks first could be let go with probation or something.   It might be the only way to get answers, which John’s family deserves.


The Charley Project


St. Louis Post Dispatch

The Daily Standard


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