Angelo Gene Puglisi

Left: Angelo circa 1976 Right: Age Progressed to age 50

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: August 21, 1976 from Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: September 2, 1965

Age: 10 years old

Height and Weight: 4’0″; 65 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: White Male, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Angelo is mildly epileptic and will need hospital treatment if he has a seizure, Angelo has a skin discoloration on his chest and three scars that go along his spine, he may use the nickname “Andy”

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A Green bathing suite, a towel, and sneakers

Circumstances of Disappearance

Angelo Puglisi was last seen on August 21st 1976 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was last known to be at the Higgins Memorial Swimming pool which was located 100 yards from his family’s residence at the Stadium Housing Projects on East Dalton Street.

Angelo was accompanied by a friend, Melanie Perkins, that day and reportedly played there all day. Perkins statuses that the pool was a usual hangout for them as they both lived in the housing projects apartments. At approximately 2:00 pm, Melanie got hungry and decided to walk home. For some reason she felt odd and nervous that day and asked Angelo to come with her.

Angelo was not ready to leave the pool so Melanie’s 11 year old brother, Jeff, walked her home. Melanie said she last saw Angelo as he sat by the pool. He was apparently talking to friends at that time.

Angelo called home at approximately 3:30 pm during that day and spoke to one of his brothers. Angelo made no indications that he was having any problems at the time. A lifeguard who was present at the pool said he saw Angelo walking around the swimming pool area at approximately 5:45 pm. This is the last time that anyone saw Angelo that day.

Angelo was reported missing when he never returned home. A huge search was commenced following his disappearance but no trace of him was found. Areas including a local dump and the wooded area next to the pool were also searched but he was not found.

Authorities initially believed that Angelo had runaway. He came from a broken home and his parents had been divorced since 1975. They speculated that he may have felt torn between his two parents. Authorities have since ditched the idea of him leaving and now believe that Angelo met with foul play.

Angelo’s parents were both considered as possible suspects in his disappearance and have not fully been removed from the list but authorities doubt that his parents were in any way involved. They believe that Angelo was likely abducted.

Authorities have named, Charles Pierce, as a suspect in his disappearance. He lived in Haverhill, Massachusetts when Angelo went missing. Charles confessed to kidnapping and murdering Janice Pockett, a young girl went missing in 1973 and has never been found. In addition to that confession, he also confessed to killing an unnamed boy in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Authorities believe that he actually may have confessed to killing Angelo.

Pierce claimed that the two children were buried in close proximity to one another but authorities never found any remains. Pierce claimed that he sexually assaulted the boy before killing him. Pierce was reportedly familiar with the Lawrence area and is suspected in the disappearances of dozens of other missing children’s cases from the 1950s to the 1970s in the New England region.

Pierce was convicted of killing Michelle Wilson, a young girl who was kidnapped on November 22nd 1969 and brutally sexually assaulted and strangled in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Pierce dumped her body in a wooded area and led authorities to it a decade later. He was serving a 20 year prison sentence when he died of cancer on February 17th 1999.

Authorities have also named, Wayne W. Chapman, as a suspect in Angelos disappearance. Chapman was arrested in September of 1976 in Waterloo, New York and when they searched his van, they found child pornography, a starter pistol, and a sock that appeared to be bloodstained in his car. The sock was eventually lost and the substance on the sock was never proven to be blood.

The vehicle that Wayne drove closely resembled a car that was spotted near the pool when Angelo was last seen. A witness came forward in 1998 and said that he and a friend had found a rectangular shaped hole in the woods next to the pool. He stated that the hole looked big enough to fit a large box or even a coffin in it. When he returned two days later, the hole was covered up. It has not been proven that the area was once a grave.

Chapman would later be convicted of the rapes of two boys in Lawrence in 1975. He reportedly lured them away from the same pool that Angelo would disappear from a year later. Rhode Island was where Chapman lived. Rhode Island authorities have a letter that proves he was in Massachusetts at the time of Angelos disappearance.

Chapman has never been charged in Angelo’s disappearance. He served his prison sentence for the rapes and was released in 2019. He was civilly committed as being a sexually dangerous predator. He is currently in his 70s and has Parkinson’s disease and is in a Boston Hospital Currently.

Decades after his disappearance, Melanie Perkins, created a documentary regarding his disappearance and the search for him. The documentary was titled “Have You Seen Andy”. Authorities dig at two sites in Lawrence in 1999 in search of Angelos body but found nothing. His disappearance remains unsolved and foul play is suspected.

Investigating Agency

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

Lawrence Police Department 978-794-5900

NCMEC Number: 601871

Source Information:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network

NamUs

Murderpedia

BBC News

The Boston Globe online