Andrew John Amato

Left and Right: Andrew circa, 1978


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: September 30, 1978

Missing From: Jefferson, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Classification: Endangered Missing

Date Of Birth: February 1, 1974

Age: 4 years old

Height and Weight: 3’6and 38 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: White Male, Blonde hair, Hazel eyes, Andrew has a one-inch scar on the right side of his head at the hairline, and a mole behind his right ear

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A maroon hooded zip up snorkel jacket, a pair of dungarees, a white Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and brown suede shoes with dark brown stripes on each side of the insteps

NCMEC Number: 600090


Details of Disappearance

Andrew was last seen in Jefferson, Massachusetts on September 30th 1978. He resided in a mobile home on Richards Avenue at the time and on the morning of his disappearance, he was playing in the woods behind the nearby Ash Avenue with his seven year old sister and six year old cousin.

Andrew and his cousin went deeper into the woods without his sister. At some point, Andrew tripped and fell. He injured himself and lost his favorite toy, a Weeble. He started crying and running in circles and stated he would not leave until he found his toy. His cousin told him to stay in that spot while he went to get help at 10:30 am.

By the time they returned to the woods, Andrew had vanished. He was never seen again. An extensive 10 day search uncovered no trace of Andrew or his whereabouts. He and his cousins had been told not to go in those woods but they disobeyed and went anyways.

Authorities believe it’s possible that Andrew was abducted by a passing motorist. He disappeared about 50 yards away from Route 52 which is now known as Interstate 395. This is now discredited since police dogs could only lead them to the spot he tripped in. This likely means someone took Andrew eight where he was left. 8 days after his disappearance, a Mickey Mouse shirt was found stained and wrapped in a paper bag in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Two suspects have been named in his disappearance. One of those suspects is Nathaniel Bar Jonah. He is believed to have raped and murdered multiple children throughout his life. He is also considered a possible suspect in the 1973 Connecticut disappearance of Janice Pockett, the 1996 Montana abduction of Zachary Ramsey, and the 1997 Wyoming disappearance of Amanda Gallion.

In 2000, investigators found the bone fragments of a child buried 6 feet underneath his dirt floored garage in Montana. The bone fragments were not those of Zachary Ramsey. Janice and Amanda’s families sent their DNA for comparison to the remains but they also did not match. Andrew’s DNA was never compared with the bones.

Investigators also believe Bar-Jonah was involved in cannibalism. Human hair was found in a meat grinder at his home. It did not belong to any of his possible missing victims. The reason why investigators have questioned his possible involvement in Andrew’s disappearance was since he grew up in Webster, Massachusetts at the time. Dudley is only 33 minutes away from Jefferson.

In December of 2001, a handwritten list by Bar-Jonah surfaced. It was titled “Lake-Webster” and it included the names of multiple alleged victims of Bar-Jonah. Some news reports have falsely claimed that Andrew was among the children on the list but he wasn’t and there’s no evidence suggesting he was involved in the case. Bar-Jonahs given name was “David P. Brown” in up until 1991.

Bar-Jonah died of a blood clot in Montana prison in 2008. He was 51 years old when he died. He was never charged with any wrongdoing in Andrew’s case and there’s no evidence suggesting his involvement in the case.

In June of 1998, investigators excavated a wooded area off of Minebrook Road. They learned that possible evidence related to the case was possibly buried in the area. The area was approximately 5 miles away from the area of his disappearance. Nothing was discovered as a result of the search.

In November of 2003, investigators learned that a Rhode Island man confessed to abducting and murdering Andrew in 1999. He allegedly confessed on his deathbed to his mother and a sibling. He had passed away from long cancer and after 4 years, his family decided to divulge the information to authorities.

Apparently, this man was a Rhode Island laborer and was 53 years old at the time of Andrew’s apparent abduction. He came to authorities attention after saying he heard of the well publicized man hung over his radio. He was the one who would “find” Andrew’s missing Weeble under a pile of leaves. This area had already been searched before and the toy was not there.

Investigators have declined to reveal the suspects name or any other information but call his confession credible. A rural area in Burrillville, Rhode Island was excavated and searched. This was the area the suspect said he buried the child but no remains or evidence was found.

At the time of his disappearance, Andrew was described as a very friendly and kind boy. The local people who knew him called him “the goodwill ambassador”. Andrew remains missing and foul play is suspected.


Investigating Agency

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Webster Police Department 617 -943-1212


Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network

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