Missing Since: June 7, 1984 from Allentown, Pennsylvania
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: February 15, 1977
Age: 7 years old
Height and Weight: 4'0 - 4'1, 44 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond/brown hair, blue eyes. Mackerley was missing four teeth at the time of his disappearance. He has two odd-shaped circular burn scars on the right side of his chest. Mackerley walks slowly and often leans forward as he does so. When he speaks, he puts his hands on his hips.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A short-sleeved green-striped or navy and white-striped shirt, long blue pants or jeans with a red tag on the rear pocket that reads "Doggie," an elastic belt with trim and a buckle shaped like a train, pink socks, and brown shoes.
Medical Conditions: Mackerley has been diagnosed as hyperactive and must take twice-daily doses of Ritalin to control his condition. If he does not take the medicine, he may suffer from lapses of memory. Mackerley has a history of learning and emotional disabilities.
Details of Disappearance:
Mackerley came home from school and told his babysitter that he was going to walk two doors from his family's house in the 300 block of Chew Street to play with friends during the afternoon of June 7, 1984 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Witnesses observed Mackerley walking between Fourth Street and Gordon Street about a block from his second-floor apartment home in the 360 block of Chew Street, but what happened to him afterwards is unclear.
The owner of Marco's Doggie Shop, a local hot dog stand, stated that Mackerley came in at 4:00 p.m. and spent approximately 45 minutes browsing around the store. Mackerley told the shop owner that he was in the store to avoid some teenaged boys who were chasing him. He left at 4:45 p.m. and walked east on Gordon Street that afternoon. His parents believe he may have been headed for the Chew Street home of an elderly woman he liked to visit. The two boys who were chasing Mackerley that day were later interviewed by law enforcement and are not thought to have been involved in his disappearance.
Another witness claimed to have seen Mackerley talking to an unidentified man and woman in a park near Jordan Creek, approximately one block from his residence, at approximately 4:30 p.m. This area was about one block away from Mackerley's residence; the story was not confirmed, but it has not been ruled out as a possible scenario either. Mackerley has never been heard from again.
Mackerley's parents did not report him missing until 11:10 p.m. that evening. His mother had been in the hospital undergoing surgery, and he was in the care of other relatives at the time of his disappearance. He liked to stay out late and usually did not return home until about 9:30 p.m. Once he left the house in the early morning hours and accidentally locked himself out; his parents installed a special lock on the door to prevent this event from occuring again. When Mackerley did not come home late in the evening of June 7 and did not answer parents' calls for him, they contacted police. An extensive search of the area turned up no clues to his whereabouts.
Mackerley enjoyed playing near water, particularly near Jordan Creek and Lehigh River, at the time of his disappearance. Shortly before he vanished he mentioned that he would like to visit Dorney Park. No trace of him was found at any of those places. His parents took lie detector tests early on in the investigation and were ruled out as suspects in their son's disappearance. There were rumors that they had abused and/or neglected Mackerley, but the Social Services investigated and found the allegations to be without merit. Mackerley's parents have three other children, two boys and a girl; he is their second-oldest child.
In January of 1984, Mackerley told his parents, his school's nurse, and a psychologist that he had been molested by a couple named Frank and Elizabeth. His accounts of the alleged incident differed; once he said he had been molested on the railroad tracks near Jordan Street and the Lehigh River and other times he said Frank and Elizabeth had driven him to an apartment in Allentown and molested him there before taking him back to his own neighborhood. There may have been more than one incident. Mackerley says the couple threatened to hurt him if he told anybody about what they had done. The Allentown police were notified but could not find enough evidence to warrant an investigation, as Mackerley could not provide any last names or addresses in his accounts. It is not known whether molestation(s), if they actually happened, have anything to do with Mackerley's disappearance six months later.
In 1988, David Riggs, a self-proclaimed private investigator from New York who claimed to have founded an organization called Search Seven to look for Mackerley and other missing children, was arrested in West Virginia after he accosted five young boys and offered to pay them to pose wearing bikini underwear. None of the boys took him up on the offer. Riggs pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted child abduction and one count of sexual abuse in connection with the incidents and was sentenced to a year in prison. Investigators looked into the possibility that Riggs was involved in Mackerley's abduction, but they found no evidence indicating this and he was eventually ruled out as a suspect. He was at one time a doctoral candidate at Columbia University. He has previously served time in prison but not for child abuse-related crimes. Riggs does not have a private investigator's license in New York and the organization he had supposedly founded, Search Seven, is not registered as a non-profit corporation in that state.
Eleven months after Mackerley disappeared, his family moved into the house in the 390 block of Chew Street that he liked to visit. The elderly female friend of Mackerley's who had lived there was moving to a retirement home and Mackerley's family wanted to be at a place he knew and might return to. He had often played at the residence and had dreamed of living there someday. Mackerley's parents were unable to make the mortgage payments for the home, in spite of contributions from community members who were moved by their plight. They filed for bankruptcy and moved to Effort, Pennsylvania in 1989. The Chew Street residence has been vacant since that time.
Mackerley is described as friendly and talkative but a loner and a timid child who was afraid to sleep alone. He had a short attention span and had trouble writing and paying attention in school. Because of this, he was due to enter a class for learning-disabled students in the fall of 1984. Mackerley was born near Stanhope, New Jersey and moved to the Allentown area in June of 1983, a year before his disappearance. His case remains unsolved; he is believed to have been abducted by a non-family member. His parents believe he may be alive and not remember who he is. His case was re-opened in 2004, twenty years after his disappearance.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Allentown Police Department
I was in Allentown recently and put up some flyers of Louis at the park near his house. I wonder what happened to him.
It sounds like a stranger abduction to me. I don't think anyone in his family was involved, anyway.
This is sweet what you have done for this little boy.He looked like such a sweet child.Did they ever find the couple he said molested him.I wonder what did his brother or sister have to say or where they are now.I wonder if the newspaper can run another story on him.I'll help any way I can to get his story out there.some one knows something.
Here's a picture of the park where I posted his flyer:
I'm pretty sure this is the park referred to in his case description, where a witness reported him talking to an unidentified man and woman. The park is about a block or so from his house - it's called Jordan Meadows Park. Off to the right of the photo I posted, there is a creek hidden by a lot of brush. I assume they searched this area. On the goalpost you can see one of the flyers I posted. As far as I know, they never found out anything about the man and woman who were allegedly molesting him.
The most recent article I can find is from 2004, 20 years after he disappeared:
This year he turned 30 years old. Maybe we can write some local newspapers and try to get them to run another article.
I found this article.I don't know when it was written.I'm sorry.
ANOTHER BIRTHDAY TO PASS WITHOUT LOUIS
by BOB WITTMAN, The Morning Call
Little Louis Mackerley, the blond-haired, hyperactive 7-year-old who captured
the community's attention when he vanished in daylight from his center city
Allentown neighborhood in 1984, would be 18 on Wednesday.
Investigators never determined what happed to the youngster, and no one can do
anything more than speculate whether the birthday elevates the missing boy to
manhood or is merely a footnote to a story about a person long dead.
Through the years, Allentown police and FBI investigators followed hundreds of
leads, some taking them to other states, others deep into the murky world of
child sex networks, but all led to dead ends.
"It was frustrating, to say the least," said District Justice Carl Balliet, a
former Allentown detective who worked on the case. "It was one of those cases
that every time you got a lead, you just ran into a dead end. You'd butt your
head against the wall."
There were conflicting stories about when and where Louis was last seen.
Carmen Marco, who runs Marco's Doggie Shop at 429 Gordon St., remembered that
Louis spent 45 minutes in his shop June 7, a Thursday, before dashing out around
4:45 p.m. and walking east on Gordon. His parents believe he was headed to 391
Chew St., the home of an elderly woman Louis liked to visit.
But there was another report that he was seen about 4:30 p.m. that day talking
to a man and woman in a park near Jordan Creek, about a block from his home.
Whatever the case, Louis' parents, Harold and Sheila Mackerley, did not miss the
child until later that evening. Hyperactive and full of energy, he usually
stayed outside playing until 9:30 p.m.
When he had not come in by 11 p.m. and he failed to answer their calls for him,
the Mackerleys called the police.
As the days drifted into months and then years, and investigators appeared no
closer to solving the case, Louis became, literally, a poster child of the
Time and again, Louis' face -- his mop of bangs, mischievous smile and big round
eyes --peered off the sides of milk cartons, down from billboards and up from
the pages of newspapers. His picture appeared in The Morning Call several times,
most recently just two Sundays ago as the featured missing child of the week
submitted by the organization Children's Rights of Pennsylvania.
Balliet said the publication of Louis' photograph almost always caused someone
to call police with a sighting. Early in the case, police thought several times
they had found him, but in each instance the little boy they stopped and
questioned turned out to be someone else.
Later, they tracked leads based on supposed sightings in states nationwide.
Balliet traveled to West Virginia, New Jersey and New York, trying to run down
leads. He remembered one caller was certain she saw Louis swimming every day at
a beach in New Jersey.
But the identity of the boys in the sightings always turned out to be someone
other than Louis, and the leads always proved false.
Thinking the case might have been sex-related, police even tracked down known
child-sex offenders with connections to the area but could not link any of them
to Louis' disappearance.
"A lot of man-hours went into that case," said Balliet, who left the
investigation when he retired to run for district justice in 1991. He said he
still dwells on the case a lot.
Balliet's successor in the investigation, Detective Sgt. Joseph Hanna, said the
case remains active.
"As far as we're concerned, our cases are always open," Hanna said. But he
conceded that police have done practically everything they can do without good,
"After this amount of time, as the days and the years go by, the leads become
less and less," said the detective.
Still, Hanna received several tips as recently as last year. He checked each of
them, but like all the others, they led nowhere.
Soon after Louis vanished, the rest of the Mackerley family -- Harold and Sheila
and their three remaining children, Harold Jr., then 9; Sheila, then 3; and
Edward, then 5 months --moved around the corner to 391 Gordon, where Louis'
elderly friend had lived.
The Mackerleys bought the house when she moved to an apartment in a senior
citizen's building because they wanted to remain in a house Louis knew in case
But the home purchase was not to be. The Mackerleys had trouble keeping up with
the payments. An Allentown woman who had not previously been acquainted with the
family undertook a community fund drive for the Mackerleys in 1987 and raised
nearly $10,000 to help save their home.
But the refinancing resulted in even higher payments, and the Mackerleys
declared personal bankruptcy two years later to try to hang on to the house a
little longer. They did, but Hanna said they moved to Effort in Monroe County a
few years ago. Attempts to contact them were unsuccessful.
Since they moved, the house at 391 Chew St. has been vacant.
Every now and then, Hanna picks up the phone and calls across the street to the
local FBI office and talks to Ed Carpino, the bureau agent now in charge of the
Mackerley case, to share information and make sure they are doing everything
there is to do. Calling Carpino is Hanna's way of double-checking himself.
The case nags at Hanna, and he'd like to see it solved.
"I think Louis is out there. It's just a matter of finding him," he said. "We're
hopeful that one of these days we're going to find him."
Thanks, Suzanne. Since it says Louis would have been 18, this must have been in 1995. The police do sound like they did everything they could, and they continue to follow up any leads. I wonder if we could get one of the officers to go on Missing Pieces radio show about this.
This is a sad story. There seems to be so much information about the little boy, people who saw him, others who interacted with him, etc. And yet no leads to follow.
The report by Louis about being molested does not sound like something that he would make up out of the blue. He had to have been abused - otherwise, how would he even know about such things? It would seem to me that looking for that "couple" would be the best bet.
I agree the boys chasing him do need to be talked to again.I am wondering why they were chasing him and if they had ever messed with him before.I think they need to find this couple too.When someone witnessed him talking to a couple at the park I wonder what this person said the couple looked like.do they have a list somewhere of sexual offenders in that area or pennsylvania from before,during and after 1984.I feel if this couple sexually assaulted him they possibly could have assaulted someone else too before and after.I wonder on microfilm at the library what earlier articles said and what was happening in the area before,during and awhile after he disappeared.Did he say when he was assaulted at the park?what was going on that day at the park?(when he was assaulted and when he came up missing)A game?what other people were there?Why would this couple had been at the park that day?He told someone the couple drove? him to an apartment in allentown?what apartmentments were in the area in 1984?Near the park maybe but deffinantly in Allentown.Don't they have something like city directories or cross street directories or something of who lived in these addresses at all the apartments in 1984? Maybe look for Frank and or Elizebeth something.I feel if he was assaulted at the park then he may have been abducted at the park also.)The park is where the couple knew he would be.Maybe they need to do another search with search dogs around the park and creek.(Doesn't the CUE center help with things like that?Didn't they just help with sheri swims).You had a very good idea to put up flyers at the park.Put them up everywhere.someone knows something.They just need to start talking.Maybe some investigator will reinvestigate his story again.
Last edited by Ms Suzanne; 12-11-2007 at 10:40 AM.
However, from my own experience, I reported a kid in my class a couple years ago who looked like a missing girl. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation got involved, I think based on photo evidence and the girl's sketchy background, and they eliminated my girl after a visit with the family. To my knowledge there was no DNA testing, and they were satisfied the girls were not the same. So there must be ways other than DNA to determine identity. In this day and age, though, it seems like DNA would be the only way to truly know.
The article says."The Allentown police were notified but could not find enough evidence to warrant an investigation, as Mackerley could not provide any last names or addresses in his accounts."
Are they saying there was no real investigation into the assault?I am thinking could this have been prevented if they did a better investigation?
I feel they need to go back to the allentown police and look again at the report (Was there a report?)and investigation they did before he came up missing and what Louis said what happened about his assault.The answer is probably in his own words.
Did they ask him what the apartment looked like ect...They did not blind fold him?They had over 20 years to check who lived in these appartments in Allentown.Maybe a Frank and or Elizebeth something.
Yeah, what about investigating any couples that suddenly moved out of the area at the time, or suddenly acquired a 7 year old child. The police say they checked out all area sex offenders, but this couple may have had no record, i.e. they never actually got "caught".
Bumping up for him.Are they still investigating his case?Are there any new leads?
Thanks for bumping this up, Suzanne. I can't find anything new about Louis. I am actually moving to eastern PA in a couple weeks, not too far from Allentown where Louis disappeared. I will see what else I can find out. Louis's birthday is coming up on the 15th...he would be 31.
Your very welcome.I will keep bumping him up.I pray they are still doing something to try and find out what happened to him.Happy Birthday Louis.
There is a time discrepancy in the narrative. The hot dog shop owner said Louis was in his store from around 4 pm to 4:45 pm but "another witness" claims he/she saw him talking with a couple in a park at 4:30. I guess this could be due to witnesses approximating the time but it's interesting nonetheless.
I notice his parents were quite lax with him, no way I would ever have been allowed to wander the neighborhood streets at 9:30 in the evening when I was 7, in fact I had to be in bed by 8:30 on school days, and I don't think the times had changed that much between 1970 and 1984, a young kid out by himself that late must have stood out. I can easily imagine all sorts of troubles a kid with that much freedom of movement can get himself into. He may even have accidentally drowned, it says he liked playing near the river.
As a young child in the early 1990s I regularly played in the streets after dark, but I live in a very small town.
However, Allentown may not be a large city but it's a big town, not the kind of place 7-year-olds should be let free to roam alone in the evening. There were teenaged boys harassing Louis earlier in the day, who knows what sort of demented scheme such kids sometimes come up with, maybe they did something to him, perhaps meant as a joke, that turned ugly?
The photo was a polaroid which fell from a van in Florida. There was also a picture of a girl whom some believe was Tara Calico, who went missing in 1988.
There is a resemblence between Louis and the unknown boy, but the five year difference between the two incidents would make for a very remote chance that they are the same boy.
Well , but Louis would have been 12 Years old in 1989.