Image: Richard circa 1972
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: January 17, 1972 from Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: August 15, 1958
Age: 13 years old
Height and Weight: 5’0″; 90 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Male, Brown hair, Brown eyes
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A gold colored hooded nylon jacket, a long brown ski mask, a pair of blue jeans, and green rubber insulated boots
Circumstances of Disappearance
Richard Griener was last seen in Pekin, Illinois on January 17th 1972. He left his home on the north side of Pekin to go to the snow sledding hill at the local park which was located 4 blocks away. He was last seen by his friends at the hill at approximately 5:30 pm.
Richard was carrying his plastic blue roll up toboggan style sled at the time of his disappearance. Richard vanished without a trace and has never been seen or heard from again. An extensive search of the area turned up no trace of Richard.
Authorities suspect that Richard may have met with foul play on the day he disappeared. William Guatney who sometimes called himself “Freight Train” is a suspect in Richards disappearance. He confessed to the murders of several children.
One of the children that Guatney murdered was abducted only 200 yards from where Richard was last seen. It is odd however, Guatney usually killed his victims during the warmer months and seasons. Richard vanished in the winter.
Guatney was committed and sent to a mental institution in 1980 after it was found the he was incompetent to stand trial for murder. Guatney died in 1997. It’s unknown if he was still being institutionalized at that time.
A skull was located in Michigan and many speculated that it was Richards but it was later proven not to be his. Richards disappearance remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Pekin Police Department 309-346-3132
NCMEC Number: 601592