Eugene Wade Martin

Left and Center: Eugene circa, 1984

Right: Age Progressed to age 49

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: August 12, 1984

Missing From: Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: August 17, 1970

Age: 13 years old

Height and Weight: 5’0″ and 110 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Male, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Eugene has a scar on his right knee, a healed fracture on his wrist, he may use the nickname “Gene”

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A gray/white striped midriff t-shirt with red colored sleeves, a pair of blue jeans, blue Trax sneakers with diagonal white stripes

NCMEC Number: 601815

Details of Disappearance

Eugene Wade Martin was last seen in Des Moines, Iowa on August 12th 1984. He was last seen as he prepared to deliver his morning newspaper route for that day. Eugene was delivering the papers on his own during this morning. He usually went with his stepbrother but he was not with him that day.

Witnesses stated that they saw Eugene talking to an unidentified man between 5:00 am and 5:15 am at southwest 12th Street and Highway Drive. The man was described as being between 30 and 40 years of age, medium build, and standing at 5’9″ feet tall. He also had a clean cut. The two were apparently involved in a friendly conversation.

Another sighting also placed Eugene folding his newspapers and talking to the man between 5:45 am and 6:05 am. Between 6:10 am and 6:15 am, Eugene’s manager found his paper bag with 10 newspapers in it outside of Des Moines.

At approximately 7:15 am, Eugene’s newspaper route manager called his family to say that Eugene’s newspaper stack had not been retrieved from the designated spot that they were left in which was located on the corner of southwest 14th and Highway Streets. The family received the same call at 7:30 am. Eugene’s father then called the police to report Eugene’s disappearance.

The search for Eugene started at approximately 8:40 am. Despite massive search efforts, Eugene was not found but authorities were suspicious about the nature of his disappearance from the very beginning. They classified his disappearance as a kidnapping.

Authorities suspect that this unidentified man is involved in Eugene’s disappearance. They believe the man talked Eugene into walking out of his route. This man is believed to have abducted Eugene.

Authorities believe that Eugene’s disappearance is possibly connected to the 1982 abduction of Johnny Gosch who was abducted by unknown men in the vicinity of Eugene’s disappearance. The cases have not been definitively linked and authorities are unsure if the same person abducted both boys.

At the time of his disappearance, Eugene enjoyed playing football, fishing, watching television, and playing video games. His stepmother and father divorced sometime after his disappearance and have since passed away.

Eugene’s disappearance remains unsolved and authorities suspect that he was abducted by a non family member.

Investigating Agency

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

Des Moines Police Department 515-283-4864

Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network


Iowa Cold Cases