Walter Thomas Ackerson Jr.

Left and Center: Walter circa, 1990

Right: Age Progressed to age 35


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: March 24, 1990

Missing From: Yachats, Lincoln County, Oregon

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: July 6, 1973

Age: 16 years old

Height and Weight: 5’7″ and 128 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Male, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Walter has asthma, he has a small scar above his lip and a scar across the top of his right foot, his teeth were crooked and had gaps between them; he required dental care at the time of his disappearance, Walters hair was startled to the back and was short on the sides at the time he went missing, he was also known to be right handed at the time

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black t-shirt, a pair of black jeans, and white sneakers

NCMEC Number: 738392


Details of Disappearance

Walter was last seen in Yachats, Oregon on March 24th 1990. He hitchhiked with three friends from the Angell Job Corps facility without permission from anyone at the facility. They went to Nye Beach which was located off Oregon Highway 101 in the Newport area of Oregon. This was 25 miles away from Yachats at the time.

His three friends, Troy Culver, Eric Forsgren, and Geoff Calligan all claimed that they brought beers off a guy and that Walter got extremely drunk. They all went to a bluff on the beach and settled there. Culver, Forsgen, and Calligan stated that they saw two girls playing football on the Beach and decided to join them. They stated that Walter stayed on the bluff.

When they went back, Walter was gone and a 40 ounce beer they had was also missing. Walter was never seen or heard from again. He had only been at the Jobs Corps for two weeks by the time he disappeared. The three boys returned to the Jobs Corps without him the next day.

Walter originally lived in Puyallup, Washington before he went to the Jobs Corps. He had moved there in the late 1980s although he was originally born in the Kettle Falls area. He was somewhat troubled at the time of his disappearance as he disliked school and was often bullied by other students.

He was truant from school a lot and started to abuse alcohol. Whenever he was taken to school, his mother, Karen Hull, would watch him go to the door to ensure he actually attended school. Due to his problem with alcohol, he contracted alcohol poisoning and had to get his stomach pumped.

Karen tried to have her son stay with his grandmother, Delores, who was described as strict but loving. Walters grades did improve while staying with her. His test grades were higher than average, especially in science class. He even once wrote an essay about him being president and what he would do when he became president.

After he stayed with his grandmother, he moved in with his ex stepfather and younger stepbrother in Spokane, Washington. That did not work out so he returned to his mother in Puyallup. He and her entered family counseling to help fix his problems. His biological father and Karen had been divorced since the 1970s.

They found out about the Jobs Corps through the family counseling. Karen said it looked good at first glance because it was located in a small town with no distractions, alcohol was forbidden, and Walter would be able to get his GED and learn a trade. Walter agreed to it and selected culinary arts as a career option. He seemed happy to join the program and his mother even signed forms allowing him to go off site during free time.

After he arrived to the Corps, he would call his mother and grandmother regularly. His last phone conversation was with Delores on March 20th 1990. He told her “This place is nothing like you think it is.” This is the last time his loved ones ever heard from him.

Karen didn’t know about Walters status as missing until April 5th, two weeks after he was last seen. The Job Corps calmed her and asked if she had heard from him recently. She had not and was completely unaware that her son was missing. The fact that the Corps waited two weeks to notify her of his disappearance was a violation of their own policy.

The Angell Jobs Corps facility had a policy which called for them to notify the family or guardian of a student that he or she is missing.

They wrote Walter off as a runaway and didn’t file a missing persons report even after his mother asked them to do so. She tried to file a report in Washington but the police there told her to file it in Oregon. Walter wasn’t reported missing until April 16th, by then his case was 3 weeks cold.

The Jobs Corps claimed that they called Hull on March 29th about her sons disappearance and also sent her a letter to notify her of his vanishing. In addition to the claims, they also said they left a message on Delores’s answering machine. Karen did not receive any letter and denies the call ever took place. Delores did not own an answering machine.

They also claimed that Walter took all of his belongings with him when he disappeared. However, a staff member from the Corps gave her all his belongings when she and Delores went to the facility two days after he was reported missing. The only thing missing from his possessions was his collection of baseball cards.

Despite the fact that Walter was considered a juvenile runaway, there were various rumors which stated that he was a victim of foul play. Delores and Karen both confronted the Jobs Corps about their false claims and statements. They admitted that they had not contacted either of them when Walter initially disappeared.

They were granted permission to see the three boys who were last known to see Walter. The women both said that the boys each acted oddly and stared down at their feet to avoid eye contact with them. A staff emend with the facility repeated their story about Walter disappearing from the beach bluff and confirmed the story. At one point, Culver apologized for them and said he felt “responsible” for Walter and felt guilty that he disappeared or ran away.

Through records, Hull and Delores were able to find that Walter was in a relationship with a girl named Emma Beller. She at one point went up to Hull and told her that she heard of a fight occurring between Forgsen and Culver with Walter. She said that Walter had been killed and was thrown off a bridge into the ocean.

She went to police with the story but they never investigated the possibility. They stated that if the story was true, Walters body would’ve washed up by now. They stated that most people who fell from the bridge or jumped would always be found washed ashore.

After all that time passed and the conflicting stories given by the Jobs Corps, Karen had enough and wrote letters to Congress; specifically to U.S Representatives Rod Chandler and Norm Dicks and Senators Slade Gorton and Brock Adams. She even sent them to two republicans and two democrats.

In her letter she says “I cannot help but feel that the Job Corps was negligent, first by not notifying me of Walter’s disappearance for 13 days, and secondly by giving me misleading information regarding his disappearance, thirdly by failing to file the runaway or missing person’s report.” Hull mailed the letter on April 22nd 1990 in hopes of gaining an investigation into her sons disappearance.

Hull went back to the Jobs Corps two times after that. At one point she went with her father, Larry Bullard, on April 25th to see if they had gained any useful information that could lead to her sons recovery. They had nothing new to report. She also went back on April 30th, she wanted to put up missing posters of her son but she was denied access to the property.

She then met with Paul Williamson who was a lieutenant with the U.S Forest Service who provided her with an update on her sons case. He gave her a file with a line for her to sign, the signature gave police the authority and consent to take Walter into custody when he is located. This also meant that Walter was simply a juvenile runaway and that the case will be suspended. She was not aware of this at the time.

Despite the runaway possibility being considered a huge possibility, his information was still sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They classified his disappearance as a stranger abduction and had his photograph put on junk mail envelopes.

The police completely agreed on the fact that Walter was a runaway and accepted the assertion of that theory from the Jobs Corps. A police officer also interviewed Culver about the case and he said that Walter did not like Jobs Corps and was also a pot smoker and bragged of doing other drugs such as LSD.

The two other boys were not interviewed at that time. Forsgren was interviewed in 1996, he repeated and backed up the story that Walter disappeared after they left him behind to play with the girls on the beach.

Walters disappearance received new attention after a discharged U.S Marine was arrested under the suspicion of molesting several 16 year old boys in Alabama in 2004. They searched the mans home and found computer pornography and newspaper articles/fliers about missing children. They found one of Walters fliers in his home.

The man was not in Oregon at the time of Ackerson’s disappearance and is not a suspect in his disappearance. He was an image collector. The discovery led to Walters disappearance being reopened. The new investigator on the case noticed the many gaps and holes in the initial investigation into his disappearance. In fact, there was no investigation to begin with.

He decided to reinterview the three boys who were last known to be with Walter. They each gave the same story but Forsgrens and Calligan’s stories changed slightly. They both said that Culver and Walter were fighting, in one of them they even said that Culver stayed on the bluff with Walter to argue.

Culver denied this and said he didn’t remember arguing with Walter. He also claimed that he did in fact go down to the beach to play with the girls.

Investigators also interviewed Emma Beller but she had no valuable information about his disappearance. She also denied that she ever dated Walter. The new investigator on the case saw no other avenues to explore in the case and as a result, it was closed in 2005.

In 2001, Culver was arrested for imprisoning, assaulting, and raping a woman who came to his apartment. She was an escort and Culver called her to come to his home. He held her captive and continually threatened to kill her with a gun. He was originally charged with 1st degree rape, 3rd degree assault, and unlawful gun possession. The rape charge was dropped but he was convicted of the other charges.

He was later convicted of encouraging child sex abuse and was sentenced to serve one year and 9 months in prison. He was also required to register as a sex offender after his parole.

Forsgren also got into extensive trouble with the law after they left the Jobs Corps. Both him and Culver had been kicked out of the school after breaking too many rules and Culver assaulted another student. Culver reapplied to the school in 1994 and wrote that he became dangerous when he drank.

Forsgren was arrested for many drug related offenses and theft in the next two decades after Walters disappearance. None of the men were ever really named as suspects in Walters disappearance but their behavior after the disappearance occurred was considered odd by many.

In August of 2009, Culver confessed to killing Walter. He confessed to his parole officer who then contacted police about the admission. He made his confession after he joined a drug treatment program which requires its participants to confess to old mistakes in order to make amends with their issues.

Culver stated that he beat Walter Beverly he was “drunk” and “whiny” and he was annoyed by the noise that he made. He said that Walter was crying over a girl or something and wanted to return to the Jobs Corps. Culver was also drunk and became easily irritated. He allegedly hit and kicked Walter and even smashed his head into a tree. He even remembers that he jumped on him a few times.

At some point, Culver realized that Walter was unconscious or perhaps dead. The three boys helped to carry Walter up to Newport Bridge. They also helped in throwing Walters body over the bridge and watched it fall 100 feet into the water. They said his body may have got something on the way down. They also remembered that many cars passed them as they did this.

Two of the boys believe that Walter might have still been alive when they threw him off the bridge. Investigators did search the area near the bridge after the confession but found no evidence. It’s likely that Walters body was simply carried out to sea after its disposal. The boys hitchhiked back to the Jobs Corps and washed their clothing.

Culver was charged with 1st degree manslaughter in Walters death and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder. Forsgren and Calligan were not charged or given any prison time since they were granted immunity for admitting to their roles in Walters alleged slaying. They were both reinterviewed following Culver’s confession and confirmed it.

They told people about the murder shortly after it occurred. Calligan told another didn’t and his sister about it and others heard the boys talking about it. Culver is also ordered to serve 3 years of probation following his sentence for manslaughter.

Investigators from the Lincoln County area of Washington are investigating Walters disappearance. His body has never been recovered and his disappearance remains classified as a non family abduction.


Investigating Agency

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

Lincoln County Sheriffs Office 541-265-4277


Source Information

The Charley Project

The Doe Network

NamUs

The Olympian