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  1. #1
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    Jul 2011
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    Fairfield, Nelson Co, Ky USA
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    MIDWEST USA - WILLIAM J "Freight Train" GUATNEY

    I am starting this thread because I couldn't find one for him. He's been listed as possible suspect in several missing person or unsolved murder cases on here, but doesn't have his own thread. If he does, I'm sorry about that.

    This guy hopped trains and traveled throughout the Midwest. He'd occasionally rape and murder young boys along the way.



    WILLIAM J "FREIGHT TRAIN" GUATNEY

    William J. GUATNEY (Murderpedia)

    Homicide investigators viewed the charges merely as a starting point, suggesting Guatney might have murdered fifteen children in the past five years alone. Nebraska charged him in the deaths of 13-year-old Jon Simpson and 12-year-old Jacob Surber, abducted from the state fair at Lincoln, in 1975.
    Both were discovered days later, and Guatney was arraigned on August 22, 1979, refusing to enter a plea. The Kansas charge involved Jack Hanrahan, a 12-year-old who disappeared from his Topeka neighborhood on May 20, 1979.

    Slayer Of Innocence (Jim Conover, 2003)
    A book about Guatney.

    The book details in first person narrative the true events of a lengthy investigation and nine day, twenty-four hour surveillance of a suspected pedophile serial killer at the State Fair in Springfield, Illinois. Over a period of seven years, from 1972 until 1979, sixteen (16) young boys who's ages ranged from seven to fourteen, disappeared.

    Fourteen were found murdered in much the same manner and type of locations. Two of the victims have never been found. In almost all the cases, a railroad track or switchyard was nearby and in many cases a county or state fair was in progress.
    Here is a Find-A-Grave "memorial" for Guatney, with few details.

  2. #2
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    The reason I've been reading up on Guatney is that I found that one of his victims, Jack Hanrahan (12), was murdered on my birthday.

    'Likable Hobo' a Killer? (Reading Eagle, Aug 23, 1979)

    Itinerant held in deaths of 5 boys (Bangor Daily News, Aug 22, 1979)

  3. #3
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    Guatney is mentioned quite a bit here on the Richard Griener thread since he's a suspect in that unsolved missing case. He could have done that one but I don't think it's likely that he did.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  4. #4
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    I found a ton of articles on this earlier. But by the time I actually started the thread, I was burnt out on them. I will add them as I can once I find them again.

    There were many more things on "Google Newspapers" than the actual 'net. There were quite a few about the boy killed the day I was born. I'm kinda drained tonight.

  5. #5
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    Even decades-old head injuries suck dog-rears...
    I came across a slideshow of unsolved murders, one of which was Jack Hanrahan

    Then I realized I'd started a thread on one of the suspects in his murder! I need some industrial-strength Gingko Biloba, if they make such a thing.

    I mainly came to say that Guatney wasn't the only suspect. Neither suspect was convicted for the murder. Guatney was found "incompetent" and got off for that reason.
    A Thomas A Berberich was charged in the late 1990's, but that case was basically killed by "counselor/client" privilege. He confessed to a counselor of sorts, but they couldn't use the confession so the case basically went nowhere.


    Murder Confession Ruling Appealed
    (Lawrence Journal-World, Lawrence KS 9/6/1998)

    Preliminary Hearing Begins in 1979 Slaying
    (Lawrence Journal-World, Lawrence KS 10/1/1999)

  6. #6
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    Feb 2016
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    I read that this guy spent 40 years traveling the railways all over this country. Does anyone have a map of all the places he's been? I ask because there is one missing child in my state that fits this guy's time line and victim profile, it was during one of our most popular agricultural fairs, and I'm looking for old railroad track maps but if my hunch is right, one could have taken this boy from his town to the fair's, 19 miles away. Any ideas? Thanks!
    All you need is love and. . . .(fill in the blank)

  7. #7
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    I think Guatney usually worked at temporary jobs in the fairs with livestock. Could the boy have hitched a ride to the fair where he then might have encountered Guatney?
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  8. #8
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    The boy told his siblings he was skipping school that day to go to the fair, which was about 19 miles away. No one thought to ask him how he was getting there. He didn't go to school and they can only assume he headed out to the fair because that's what he told them. Our state seems so far removed from where the majority of the crimes took place, this is really a long shot, but that Guatney claimed to have been all over the country by rail. I just found this case eerily similar to some of Guatneys (the age range, the fair, and I'm certain a nearby rail road, but don't quote me, I'm trying to locate a map of the train tracks).
    All you need is love and. . . .(fill in the blank)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alleykins View Post
    I read that this guy spent 40 years traveling the railways all over this country. Does anyone have a map of all the places he's been? I ask because there is one missing child in my state that fits this guy's time line and victim profile, it was during one of our most popular agricultural fairs, and I'm looking for old railroad track maps but if my hunch is right, one could have taken this boy from his town to the fair's, 19 miles away. Any ideas? Thanks!
    Where are you from?

  10. #10
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    Feb 2016
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    I live about 3-4 hours away from where he disappeared.
    All you need is love and. . . .(fill in the blank)


  11. #11
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    Here is a link to the Fryeburg Fair: www.fryeburgfair.org/

    All you need is love and. . . .(fill in the blank)

  12. #12
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    Feb 2016
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    There are so many unsolved disappearances of young boys he could have been involved with because he traveled so much, but we'll never know.
    All you need is love and. . . .(fill in the blank)



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