Left: Danny circa, 1989
Right: Age Progressed to age 37
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: August 25, 1989
Missing From: Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: August 10, 1977
Age: 12 years old
Height and Weight: 4’0″ and 45 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Male, Brown hair, Blue eyes, it’s possible that Danny might have an attention deficit and or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), he has a fair complexion with just a few freckles, his nickname is “Randy”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A yellow Jam shirt with a black triangle design on it, a pair of white shorts,
NCMEC Number: 730217
Details of Disappearance
Danny was last seen in Gainesville, Florida on August 25th 1989. His brother last reported seeing him inside a neighbor, James Carl Welsh’s vehicle as he listened to the cars radio at 8:30 pm. He said James appeared to watching Danny as he did this from his home. Welsh declared he was going to bed shortly thereafter. His brother noticed that Welsh’s bedroom window had the screen removed at the time.
Danny never returned home and was never seen or heard from again. His family reported him missing at midnight. His mother was originally not concerned about him not returning home. She assumed he chose to spend the night at a friends residence.
Investigators initially believed that Danny had voluntarily runaway from home in 1989 but soon started to believe other factors had a hand in his disappearance. There were possible sightings of him in the area after his disappearance but these are largely discounted. His disappearance might be classified as an endangered runaway with some agencies. Authorities believe Danny might have been abducted by a non family member.
Investigators soon discovered that James had a criminal history. He was convicted of sexual assaulting against two children after Danny’s disappearance. He was also known for providing beer and marijuana to older boys in the neighborhood at the time of Danny’s disappearance. James forbid Danny from coming into his house since he feared the boy would tell an adult about what was happening.
James was identified as a possible suspect in Danny’s case soon afterwards. His mother became friends with him in an effort to get him to divulge information hat could lead to her son’s whereabouts. She said he did not reveal anything but she did notice a bad odor was coming from the drainage ditch in the general area shortly after his disappearance.
Extensive searches of the area were conducted and included trained canine dogs. No evidence of Danny’s whereabouts was ever found as a result of those searches. They also searched Welsh’s home for evidence and questioned him about his possible role in the case. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing in the case.
James remains a suspect in Danny’s presumed abduction. He subsequently plead guilty to one of the sexual assaults he committed and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in 1999. James lived two houses away from Danny at the time.
Investigators received information that Danny was allegedly seen later during the evening of his abduction. A witness reported that they saw Danny inside of a vehicle with two unidentified male subjects. The vehicle was spotted outside of the Handyway Food Store in the 1400 block of northeast 23rd Street. This was approximately 2 1/2 miles away from Danny’s home.
One of the men was described as being between 18 and 20 years of age in 1989. He stood at about 5’8″ and weighed 150 pounds. He was Caucasian and had brown hair and a mustache. The other man was described as being Caucasian with a medium build. He had brain hair pulled back in a ponytail. He was approximately between 20 and 22 years of age at the time.
The men were driving a brown four door 1978 or 1979 Chevrolet Impala. The car might’ve had damage to it’s right front panel. Investigators are unsure if the sighting was accurate or not but continue to believe Danny was snatched by someone he possibly didn’t know.
Randy was possibly sighted again 3 years after his disappearance in New Jersey. In August of 1992, a woman said she saw a boy who looked exactly like Danny on Manasquan Beach with an unidentified male. She said the man had a tight hold on the boys arm. She felt this was unusual given the fact that the boy appeared to be a teenager as opposed to a small child.
The woman initially didn’t know the significance of what she saw. A few days after she witnessed this, she received a mailer which featured Danny on it and she recognized the boy she saw. He looked just like Randy. She reported her sighting to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children after seeing this.
The man that Danny was possibly seen with on the beach was described as Caucasian with a thin build at the time. He had a fair complexion with a possibly sparse mustache. He was said to between 38 and 43 years of age at the time of the sighting in 1992. He stood between 5’8″ and 5’9″ and weighed around 155 pounds at the time.
The man was seen wearing thin black rimmed prescription glasses and an apparently outdated blue swim suite. Investigators have said its possible the mans entire wardrobe and choice of dress was outdated. Investigators have not verified the sighting but believe the boy was likely Danny.
At the time of his disappearance, Danny enjoyed hobbies like fishing, skateboarding, and dancing. He was also described as being mischievous at the time of his 1989 disappearance. His mother originally moved to West Virginia after her son’s disappearance. She returned to Gainesville again in 2001. She hopes to find answers in the case.
Foul play is suspected in Danny’s disappearance. His case remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Gainesville Police Department 904-334-2400
Manasquan Police Department (732) 223-1000