Left and Center: Zachary circa, 1996
Right: Age Progressed to age 30
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: February 6, 1996
Missing From: Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: December 18, 1985
Age: 10 years old
Height and Weight: 4’0″ and 100 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Biracial Male; Zachary is African American and Caucasian, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Zachary has scars between his eyebrows and on one of his arms, he had blotchy skin at the time of his 1996 abduction and has facial dimples, he was known to wear eye glasses at the time of his disappearance but he didn’t have them when he disappeared, he might use the nickname “Zach”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue denim jacket with green sleeves, a blue football jersey with his last name Ramsay imprinted on the back with gold lettering, a pair of stonewashed jeans, and black high top sneakers
NCMEC Number: 814455
Details of Disappearance
Zachary was last seen in Great Falls, Montana on February 6th 1996. He left his residence he shared with his mother, Rachel Howard, which was located in the 400 block of north Fourth Street at approximately 7:34 am. He was walking to school at the time. Witnesses reportedly saw him walk down the alley located near the 400 block of north Fifth Street shortly afterwards.
He never arrived at school that morning. Zachary has never been seen or heard from again. School officials called Rachel to inform her that her son was marked as absent and had not shown up for classes that day. She filed a missing persons report on Zachary later in the afternoon. Searches failed to find any trace of the child.
Investigators do not believe Zachary left on his own accord. He previously ran away once about a month before his 1996 disappearance. He called his mother within an hour to come and get him. Investigators believe Zachary was abducted while he walked to school that morning.
A family of three reported seeing Zachary walking down the alley. They also recalled how an off-white four door car neatly run him over. Other witnesses saw Ramsay standing in the alleyway as if he were waiting for someone. Witnesses placed a man known as Nathaniel Bar-Jonah standing beside a dumpster in the alley at approximately 7:15 am.
Bar-Jonah appeared to be taking out the trash and was wearing a blue “police-like” jacket. When Zachary entered the alley later on, Nathaniel was still observed standing next to that dumpster. At 7:45 am, a witness saw Zachary cross north Sixth Street. He appeared to be crying and in distress.
Zachary was seen being followed by an older “obese” man who was a few feet behind him and appeared to be upset. Police believe the man seen following the boy was Nathaniel Bar-Jonah and that he abducted Zachary by subduing him with a stun gun soon afterwards.
Investigators immediately suspected Bar-Jonah who seemingly left behind a trail of child sexual assault and murders wherever he went. Bar-Jonah is also a possible suspect in the 1973 Connecticut abduction of Janice Pockett, the 1978 Massachusetts disappearance of Andrew Amato, and the 1997 Wyoming disappearance of Amanda Gallion. Investigators have considered his involvement in Amanda Gallion because she was often mistaken for a boy while riding her bicycle.
Nathaniel would’ve been 16 years of age when Janice disappeared but he had already strangled a former playmate by that time. He also served a prison sentence for the abduction and attempted murder of two boys from Massachusetts in 1977. He was also found guilty of two counts of child molestation in Montana in 2002.
Investigators also believe Bar-Jonah was involved in cannibalism. Human hair was found in a meat grinder at his home. It did not belong to any of his possible missing victims. The reason why investigators have questioned his possible involvement in Janice’s apparent abduction was since he grew up and lived in Webster, Massachusettsat the time. Webster is only 20 miles away from Tolland.
In December of 2001, a handwritten list by Bar-Jonah surfaced. It was titled “Lake-Webster” and it included the names of multiple alleged victims of Bar-Jonah. Some news reports have falsely claimed that Andrew Amato was among the children on the list but he wasn’t and there’s no evidence suggesting he was involved in that case. In the 1970s, Bar-Jonahs givenname was “David P. Brown”. It should be emphasized that Bar-Jonah has not been formally implicated in these other cases.
Investigators in Zachary’s case have uncovered a lot of circumstantial evidence that Nathaniel was involved in his abduction. He had access to his mothers off-white, four-door 1978 Toyota Corolla on the day of Zachary’s disappearance since his mother and brother were out of town for a funeral. It was also discovered that he did not report to work on the day of his disappearance or the days preceding.
Nathaniels home was also searched and inside, they found a list of boys names. This list included the names of his previous victims and one of them was “Zackery Ramsey” which was followed by the word “DIED”. They also found he had dozens of newspaper clippings that covered the Ramsay case.
A former roommate of Bar-Jonah described how he found clothing inside of the apartment that appeared to match the clothing that Zachary was wearing on the morning of his presumed abduction as well as a pair of bloody gloves. Another roommate and others who spoke with Bar-Jonah recalled how he would spontaneously bring up Zachary in conversations.
In addition to the list, investigators also found notebooks in the apartment. With the help of the FBI, the notebooks were de-coded and were found to contain descriptions of torturing and eating children. There were also macabre recipes that involved children’s body parts. Investigators also sprayed his garage with Phosphorus to see if there was any evidence in relation to the Ramsay case.
When the spraying occurred, investigators found the word “Tita” appeared. This has implied Nathaniels possible involvement in the 1973 abduction and murder of James Teta. He was kidnapped from Massachusetts on August 23rd 1973. His body was found on August 25th in Rindge, New Hampshire. He was raped and strangled to death.
He was arrested in 1999 and was charged with impersonation of a police officer. After searching his home, investigators uncovered various pictures of young children cut out of magazines and a bone that was identified as belonging to an unknown young male child. Montana police charged Bar-Jonah with kidnapping, sexual assault, and kidnapping and sexual assault of three other boys.
Nathaniel was tried for the abduction and molestation of three boys and convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and sexual assault, including charges that he had tortured one of the boys and hung him from the ceiling. During Bar-Jonah’s trial, a 36-year-old woman, Mary Patrone, recognized him as the man who had abducted and assaulted her by posing as a police officer in 1974. However, the statues of limitations had expired in that case, therefore he could not be held accountable for that crime.
Nathaniel was sentenced to 130 years in prison. Bar-Jonah died of a blood clot in Montanaprison in 2008. In 2000, he was originally charged with kidnapping and killing Zachary but the charge against him were dropped in October of 2002 due to lack of evidence. Rachel Howard also believed her son was still alive and reportedly viewed a videotape of her son playing in a playground in 2000.
Investigators were able to trace the film to Italy where the child’s father was stationed in the military at the time. The boys dental records and fingerprints didn’t match with Zachary’s however so they are not the same person. Rachel continues to believe her son is alive. She has stated her psychic and others believe Zachary is still out there.
Investigators closed the investigation into Zachary’s disappearance after they were able to link Bar-Jonah to his disappearance. Howard has emphasized the possibility that police might be wrong about Nathaniel being involved in the case since they have previously done this in the Ramsay case. They initially presumed that she was concealing her son.
In January of 2011, Zachary’s father, Franz Ramsay, had the boy legally declared dead despite his ex-wife’s objection towards that idea. He was able to collect a $20,000 life insurance policy on Zachary. His mother continues to keep faith she’ll see her son again one day.
At the time of his disappearance, Zachary was a student at Witter School and enjoyed pairing and drawing. He is described as a reserved but rather friendly child. He was afraid of the dark at the time: His parents had been divorced since before he turned 2 years old. Zachary’s case remains unsolved.
Image: Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, circa 2000
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Great Falls Police Department 406-771-1180
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children