Mother of kidnapped son asks former escort to undergo DNA testing
A 24-year-old kidnapping case has been resurrected. And conspiracy breadcrumbs have been scattered in a million directions.
Johnny Gosch was one of the first missing kids featured on a milk carton. He vanished while delivering newspapers in West Des Moines, Iowa on Sept. 5, 1982. But last month on Aug. 27, Gosch’s mother, Noreen, found an envelope on her doorstep. It was Noreen’s birthday, and she thought someone had left her a present.
But the anonymous package contained two photos of young boys who were bound and gagged. Noreen believes one of the boys is Johnny wearing the same sweatpants he had on the day he vanished.
National media attention about the new photos led to an anonymous tip in Tampa, Fla., that the photos were tied to an old investigation. And earlier this week, Nelson Zalva, an investigator for the Florida State’s Attorney’s office said the photos Noreen submitted are identical to images that Zalva investigated in the late ’70s prior to Gosch’s disappearance.
But the recent attention also revived an all-too-weird theory that’s being circulating on the Internet: Could former-escort-turned-White-House-reporter Jeff Gannon be Johnny Gosch?
In 1999, Noreen testified in Omaha Federal Court during a case involving Lawrence E. King, Jr. and the Franklin Credit Union scandal.
King, who managed the Franklin Federal Credit Union in Nebraska and a prominent fundraiser for the GOP, pled guilty to embezzlement. During that investigation, King was alleged to have been involved in, or the leader of, a child-sex group in Nebraska in the ’80s.
Noreen was testifying on the behalf of Paul Bonacci, a convicted child molester with multiple personality disorder, who claims to have helped abduct Johnny.
Bonacci says he and Johnny were sex slaves for King, who allegedly ran an infamous midnight “call boy” tour service of the White House. This prostitution scandal nicknamed the “Franklin Cover-Up” made the front page of the Washington Times on June 29, 1989.
And then there’s this dizzying leap in logic: connecting a pedophilic White House prostitution ring with Jeff Gannon, a reporter with a suspicious journalism background. Gannon became part of the White House press pool from 2003 to 2005. Last year, Gannon made headlines when it was discovered that he also worked as a gay escort nicknamed “Bulldog.”
Now the name “Jeff Gannon” is a pseudonym. Apparently, Gannon’s real name is James Dale Guckert, and he claims to have graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 1980. That would make Guckert/Gannon 49 years old which would put him nowhere near Gosch’s age. If Gosch were alive today, he’d be 36 years old.
Ted Gunderson, a retired FBI agent who’s been investigating the Franklin Cover-Up, says he has a credible source who insists that Gannon/Guckert is Gosch.
Apparently Gannon has repeatedly denied these claims. And last year on the “A Closer Look” radio program, Gannon called in to host Michael Corbin and agreed to take a DNA test to prove he’s not Gosch. But he hasn’t taken the test, and Noreen keeps renewing the offer.
Since July 2005, Gannon has been a columnist for the gay newspaper The Washington Blade.
When Noreen’s new photos surfaced, Dallas Voice e-mailed Gannon via the “media requests” page on his Web site, asking if he’s re-considering DNA testing with all the new media attention surrounding the Gosch case. Gannon hasn’t responded.
The speculations about the Gosch kidnapping are endless.
And I’m not even going touch the “suicide of Hunter S. Thompson” theory related to the conspiracy. If you’re dying to unravel that puzzle, jump online yourself. There are mountains of blogorrhea devoted to the topic.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 15, 2006.