Jan 6, 2014 – 30 Years Ago Today, Yale Divinity Student, Sam Todd was still a Missing Person…

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in BLOG | 0 comments

Jan 6, 2014 – 30 Years Ago Today, Yale Divinity Student, Sam Todd was still a Missing Person…

It was a Friday – Sam had been gone for a week tomorrow and the police were finally on the case. It is here that my memory begins to get really fuzzy. I know I participated in the search and placing flyers on Friday. When the police couldn’t get involved in a search until Sam had been missing for 5 days, Sam’s friends and family did what smart people do – they acted. That weekend the city was a swarm of Vassar and Yale students looking for Sam and plastering flyers all over the streets. A headquarters was set up with a map of the areas we had searched already, areas that needed to be searched still. Adam and Sam’s other brothers kept an eye on soup kitchens. There were search parties set up. I remember showing up at the headquarters and immediately feeling out of my depth. I was a college drop out, a dancer; I didn’t belong with these clean cut people from Connecticut.

Me, circa 1985, Asbury Park.

Me, circa 1985, Asbury Park.

That Friday night I sat with Adam’s girlfriend and did the Tarot. Outside the Twin Towers ghosted the sky and the wind blew. I saw something about water. Crossing water. “Maybe he went to Staten Island?” I said. Maybe he fell in the river, I thought. We were so afraid to say anything negative. A few weeks later a minister would blame me for Sam’s disappearance. “You invited the devil in when you did the Tarot and now we can’t find him because of you.”

The first weekend after Sam’s disappearance I spent with a Balinese “rock star” I had met at CBGBs because he kept his apartment temperature in the 80s and there was ice on my bedroom window at the loft. I couldn’t cope with the cold or the reality in our lives, so I fled.  Hari kept me warm. Gave me a fur coat. Gave me some other things to numb the horror of Sam’s disappearance. It was the beginning of my slide into an abyss that would take me two years to crawl out of on New Year’s Even 1986.

n 2009, a reporter contacted me regarding Sam Todd and Cameron Jones’ disappearances. What astounded him was that I had made the connection between these two New Year’s Eve disappearances and created a murder mystery, but the NYPD had not connected the two and considered the possibility that the two cases – 10 years apart were connected. In the case of Cameron Jones, there was graffiti in the East Village saying “VERN” — what if the same had appeared in 1984 but no one noticed? He also asked the question, was Sam’s disappearance connected to the Smiley Face murders in Minnesota. Had we seen smiley faces during our search? I certainly don’t recall. But the Smiley face killer brings up another disappearance after a holiday party. “At the age of 21, Christopher Jenkins appeared to have everything going for him. The University of Minnesota senior was good-looking, had a near perfect grade-point average and had a future in business. Then, suddenly, he vanished….”  Jenkins’ body was found, still dressed in costume from Halloween. The police deemed it accidental, but “Hundreds of miles away, Kevin Gannon, a retired detective with the New York Police Department, was investigating the mysterious deaths of several college men from New York state. Each of the deaths had been ruled an accidental drowning.” (See more about this on Bitten and Bound)

I return to my “evil” Tarot reading. Water… Did Sam cross water or get double crossed by water? Has the NYPD ever revisited this cold case file? Was Sam the first in what would become a long list of disappearing young men in NYC, elsewhere? Will we ever know? Thirty years ago, I never imagined I would make it to the age of thirty. Now I am facing down sixty in a few years. I wish Sam Todd were doing the same. And if we cannot have that wish, is it too much to have closure and know what happened to our friend?

Sam Todd circa 1983

Sam Todd circa 1983

 

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