02-09-2008, 04:18 PM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
WI - Robert Joseph Fritz, 5, Campbellsport, 14 May 1983
Missing Since: May 14, 1983 from Campbellsport, Wisconsin
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: August 5, 1977
Age: 5 years old
Height and Weight: 4'0, 50 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, blue eyes. Robert has a strawberry birthmark on his outer left thigh just above his knee. At the time of his disappearance it was two inches by three inches, or about the size of a cigarette pack; it may be larger now and lighter in color. Robert had difficulty pronouncing the letters T, K and R at the time of his disappearance. His nickname is Bobby Joe, which is sometimes spelled "Bobbie Joe."
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A red, blue and gray short-sleeved shirt, dark blue pants and brown cowboy boots.
Details of Disappearance
Robert was last seen playing in an empty lot in his family's Campbellsport, Wisconsin neighborhood on May 14, 1983. The lot was beside the Mill Pond/Milwaukee River in the area where the Campbellsport Firehouse now stands. He was with his sister and friends approximately one-half block from the family's residence when he was last seen. He told his sister he was hungry and was going to walk home between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Robert never arrived home and has never been heard from again.
After Robert's disappearance, an extensive search was made of the Milwaukee River, but no trace of him was ever found. He lived with his mother and six siblings at the time of his disappearance; his father and some other siblings lived in Illinois. Robert's father has since died and his mother has moved away from the Campbellsport area. Authorities eventually concluded that he must have been abducted. His case remains unsolved.
Robert closely resembled his brother, Tony, in childhood and may look like him as an adult. A photograph of Tony is posted below this case summary.Investigating Agency
Above: Tony Fritz
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Fond Du Lac County Sheriff's Office
05-18-2013, 10:01 PM #2Former Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
After 30 years, search for Bobby Joe Fritz continues
After 30 years, the search for a 5-year-old boy who disappeared from Campbellsport is continuing.
05-28-2013, 05:10 AM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
Contradicting information in this sad case. Charlie Project said Robert was playing in a vacant lot, and told his sister he was hungry and that he would walk home. Fdlreporter says that Robert was at home, presumably playing in the yard when he vanished. The two hour time frame is consistent in both accounts for that day.
04-06-2015, 07:33 AM #4Media thread for Abby and Libby.
Unless I provide a link, every one of my posts are to be considered rumor, Speculation, or simply MY OWN OPINION.
03-15-2017, 02:29 PM #5Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2014
The Lost: What ever happened to Bobby Joe Fritz?
While some initially suspected Bobby Joe drowned in the nearby mill pond, the prevailing theory is that he was abducted and killed. Investigators came to believe that the boy was buried in neighboring Sheboygan County near Waldo.
The Fritz family remains shattered three-plus decades after he went missing. He was just a few months shy of his sixth birthday.
“I was hoping they would have found Bobby Joe before I died,” his mother told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. These days, Szabo lives in Stephenson in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
“I’ve given up all hope on everything," she said. "It's hard for me to admit it, but I think he's dead. It's been 34 years. There is no sign of him. I can only hope so much."One year after Bobby Joe vanished, authorities in Sheboygan County identified a convicted child sex offender named Michael Scott Menzer as a strong suspect in his disappearance. However, Bobby Joe's investigation would not make any substantial inroads at the time. In October 1990, investigators tore up Menzer’s property in the tiny village of Waldo, current population 500, in an effort to find Bobby Joe's buried body or clothes.
Remnants of decayed children's clothes and four small bones were found within Menzer's property, according to search warrant records. The documents reflect that Lynn Rusch, an archaeologist at the Wisconsin Historical Society, "could not tell if it was animal or human, but stated that due to the fact that the hip socket had not fused itself to the long bone, it appeared to be that of a juvenile."
However, DNA technology was in its infancy, so the evidence was not subjected to advanced scientific testing. Time elapsed. The clues remained inside an evidence storage unit. Menzer was never charged in connection with Bobby Joe’s kidnapping, but was given a 40-year federal prison sentence in 1993. A jury convicted him of burning down his Waldo Mill property in 1990, killing his stepsons, ages 8 and 7. In 2008, Menzer died of cancer while in custody. He was 59.
The lack of answers makes Bobby Joe's disappearance that much more troubling to bear, said Tony Fritz, an older brother who lives in Illinois.
"I think (Menzer) took more to the grave than what they know about," Tony Fritz said.During the investigation, Szabo was put under the microscope, enduring a barrage of confrontational questions from FBI agents.
"A couple of the detectives from the FBI came to my house and hollered, 'What did you do with Bobby Joe?' They thought I killed him and got rid of his body," she recalled. "I told them to get out and not to come back."
People around town also speculated that Bobby Joe's mother gave away her son or sold him because the family had little money. At the time, she was collecting public assistance to make ends meet.
Eventually, both of the boy's parents were cleared as suspects.
Millions know the horror story of Jacob Wetterling, the 11-year-old Minnesota boy who was abducted while riding his bicycle along a dirt road in 1989. But another nightmarish crime that unfolded in Wisconsin during the 1980s — the disappearance of Campbellsport's Bobby Joe Fritz — is mostly forgotten.
There are similarities in how the abduction cases unfolded, with one glaring difference: Wetterling's case has been solved.
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