Veteran William Jerome Gangwisch, Missing Since December 7, 1977

For those of you who would prefer to listen to his case instead of reading the article below, just click the play button above to listen to the podcast episode I created on his disappearance!

Here is a highly underrepresented case that has always haunted me: the case of William Jerome Gangwisch, an Airforce veteran who mysteriously vanished at age 45 on December 7, 1977. After the 1980’s, it’s almost as if his case was left in the dust. There has been very public light of his case since the 80’s. In the 90’s there was a publication to the NY Times on his disappearance. After his immediate family passed away, there was no one left to “push” his case. What happened to William Gangwisch? His case is not in Namus. Let’s spread the word of his case.

The night that William went missing, after attending an awards banquet, he gave his coworker a ride home at Ninth Ave and 42nd St in NYC, and he was never heard from again. He was supposedly planning on going straight to his residence in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The day prior, he purchased a plane ticket that he planned on using to visit his parents who lived in Missouri. William never made it to Missouri.

At the time of his disappearance, he was a research manager and research chemist at Colgate-Palmolive in Piscataway, NJ. His coworkers had advocated for his case when he vanished. Unfortunately, many of his old coworkers may now be deceased or elderly. In fact, if William were alive today in 2021, he would be almost 89 years old.

William was born on June 27, 1932 in MO to Stella Mae Gangwisch (1910-2000) and Theodore “Ted” Martin Gangwisch (1904-1988). Stella and Theodore resided at the 700 block of Belair Drive in Jefferson City, MO, where William grew up. William attended Jefferson City High School. He then went on to study sciences and chemistry at the University of Missouri, where he graduated from in 1954. Because William was an only child and his parents passed away before the internet became the main source of information sharing, there was no one “pushing” his case to be in the media after the death of his mother in the year 2000.

The car William owned and was driving at the time of his disappearance was a Datsun Honey Bee. His car was never recovered; this leads to suspicion that William may have met with foul play.

Where William’s parents are buried is a grave with William’s name on it. (Oftentimes, family will pre-order and even label a grave to ensure a proper burial shall one family member pass away first.) The grave states he passed away on December 1 or 7 of 1982 (his Findagrave profile indexed his death as December 1). However, William was never actually found alive or deceased. This news article from 1991 stated William was still missing at the time. His extended family has also confirmed that he is in fact still missing.

I am not certain if William was married or if he had any children at the time of his disappearance.

I have not come across any photos of William. If anyone from Jefferson City has any of his yearbook photos, please comment below.
Update: The school board at Jefferson City High School found his yearbook photo! Thanks to them, now for the first time after all of these years, he has a missing photo to put with his poster/articles. If anyone who used to work with him or knew him has another photo, any will help. I enhanced the photo, so his hair may appear darker than it was in reality. I cannot find any physical description of him online, but judging by his photos, it appears he may have had light brown to dark blonde hair, possibly even medium brown hair. He likely had brown eyes, but I cannot confirm that either. I do not know his height or weight. He is Caucasian.

The Middlesex County Police Department handles his case. They can be reached at (732) 745-3366.

Published in 1969: a glimpse into William’s life years before his disappearance

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