I have been lurking on this site for so long...so totally amazed and impressed with the knowledge you share and the good that you do. I've wanted to post this for so long but I have such little information....
I grew up on the south side of Chicago. I was born in 1963. Around 1972-73 or so, there was a traveling carnival in the Scottsdale neighborhood--this would have been around 87th & Cicero for those of you who know the Chicago area.
A young boy, I believe his name was Billy, went to the carnival with his family, got separated, and disappeared. He was either never found or was found dead--I can't remember--but in any case, the story did not have a happy ending. He would have been 9 or 10 years old at the time.
I am not sure why this case has stayed with me so long. I think about this poor boy and his family all the time. I now have kids the age this boy was at the time of his disappearance. Everytime I take them to a carnival, I think back on this and wonder if there was ever any resolution to this case. I realize I've offered very little information here but, if you lived in the area in the early 70s, you might remember it. It was really the first time I realized that bad things could happen to little kids.
Hoping that someone can help me fill in the blanks...
Welcome to Websleuths. So many of these cases have a similar effect - not only on family and friends of victims, but also on people who had no personal connection other than to have known of the tragedy.
I am not personally knowledgable of this case, but could offer a few suggestions as to where to look for answers.
With on-line searches, if the victim is still missing, you have a better chance of finding his case profiled, because the case is obviously still unsolved. But since this is an older case, there is always the chance that it has not been put into any of the missing person websites or computer data bases.
If he turned up dead, then you would have a harder time finding anything on it in today's internet. Your best bet would be to search microfilms of the newspapers you recall seeing around that time frame. A good deal of the information about these old cases that is on line today was actually first found in microfilm archives by persons researching the case and then putting the information on websites like this one.
According to June 25, 1972, Suburbanite Economist (Chicago area):
Billy DeSousa disappeared June 20. He had gone to watch the carnival be set up with $1 in his pocket. He was seen at the carnival, and various sightings were reported of a boy resembling him over the next few days, but his family felt he couldn't have run away, as he was very excited about the pitching and catching machine his dad had promised to bring home after work that day, as well as the fact that he was always promptly home on time.
According to the February 5, 1975 issue of the same newspaper:
"Two and one-half years of waiting by Donald and Isabelle DeSousa came to an end this week whtn the body of their 10-year-old son, Billy, was found in a remote section of forest preserve near Palos Park."
The remains were skeletal and he was identified by clothing and possessions, including a key which opened Billy's bike lock.
I couldn't find if the case was ever solved.
For what it's worth. Billy and I were classmates at St Bede. We were friends. The whole ordeal has haunted me my whole life.
About ten years ago I did some business with a very high ranking Chicago Detective. I asked him to look into the case and let me know what he found. The case is still open as of then. But what he told me kinda made sense. There is strong support that it was Gacy's doing. No actual proof. But he was suspected of killing many more boys than what we are aware of. It fit's though. Billy was probably lured by Gacy and the whole clown thing. It was a carnival. But I don't think we will ever know for sure. Still so sad.
Rest in peace friend. I will never forget you.
Just for every-ones 411. I put up a post on my FaceBook page about Billy suggesting some type of memorial for Billy. It's almost 40 years later now. And nothing has bee done. I will copy and paste what I wrote. Well, long story short. This idea has really taken off! Here is a link to a page that a friend put together. I hope you can access it.
Here is the post: I've been searching for answers on Internet, about one of our Classmates, Billy De Sousa. I've been thinking about him a lot since the young lady went missing in the old hood. I did find answers to my questions. But what really bothers me STILL is how St Bede's handled all of that. They just pretended like nothing happened! Billy was in my homeroom with Sister Catherine. And nothing was said. No mass, no talking, NOTHING! Even after they found his remains. I don't remember anything. There should be a permanent memorial for Billy in some fashion in St Bede's Parish! Anyone with me in starting something for our classmate? I have no idea how to accomplish whatever I'm about to do. I do realize it was 40 years ago, And I'm probably too late. But better late than never. Unless something has been done and I'm not aware
I have been bothered for many years about this crime. I was on Billy's baseball team the Scottsdale Ford City Braves (we played on 83rd and Cicero at "Polk Field"). We had practice at Polk Field the afternoon he went missing. I first met him on the baseball team because he was a Catholic school student (St. Bedes) and I went to public School (John Crerar). On the day Billy went missing he told me (and probably some others boys) that he was going to a carnival on 87th and Cicero (Topps Department Store) and asked me to go with. I promised my mom I would come home after practice and on this particular day I did what I was told. I always wonder if i made the other decision how it might have changed things either way.
I remember Billy's parents calling every member of the team that night for any info and I told my parents the basic info that I just typed above. I remember many local parents and the police going door to door in the neighborhood; they asked me a few basic questions but that was it. Looking back on it I was one of the last people to see him alive -you would think there would have been more thoughtful questioning. I have always been amazed about is NO ONE ever talked about just like mjl1962 said. Parents, teachers, the church, etc never mentioned it. Nobody had any counseling. As a young boy I always wonder what happended to him it just was never discussed. Years later I remember overhearing my mom and another neighbor discussing that they found Billy's remains and that he was identified by his bicycle key. When I saw the newspaper article referenced above I was surprised how correctly I remembered it. I also remember hearing that the carnival was not yet operating on the day that Billy went so there was always speculation about a carnival worker being involved.
It still amazes me how this case was handled. The family must have gone through hell and I can speak fror myself that even those of us that only knew him casually were really affected by the crime and especially how the crime and its aftermath were handled. Just different times I guess.
Sorry for the long post is was somewhat therapeutic.
Welcome to Websleuths, Palehose. I'm so glad you and mjl1962 have come here to talk about Billy. Now that you've started, I hope you keep talking. Catharsis is a wonderful thing. I'm a few years older than the two of you, so I know what you mean about the way things were hushed up back then. Children were discouraged from talking about tragedy, told to go play and not think about such things. Another time, indeed. Thankfully, we're more enlightened nowadays.
Something else to be grateful for in our present time is this amazing ability to communicate and share information so that 40 years after poor little Billy's death, you, mjl1962 and Alexmia have found answers! I pray that in some way Billy knows that his friends have never forgotten him.
Rest in peace, Billy.
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Muddy water in the street; Muddy water 'round my feet... as sung by the inimitable Bessie Smith, "Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)"
Yes, welcome to WS and I'm sorry for the loss you and everybody else who knew Billy has endured. How incredibly sad and tragic, it pains my heart to hear of children being hurt! I have a little boy so whenever I hear of little boys escpecially, it just really hurts. Rest in peace, Billy.
Last edited by Danaya; 10-26-2010 at 01:20 AM.
This story breaks my heart. Being a single mother with young children (my youngest is a 5 yr old little boy) it brings tears to my eyes. This horrible man caused so much tragedy and horror. I know Charles E. Pierce is suffering where he is now that he has left this earth, and I hope the families of his victims have found some kind of peace in knowing that.
The link in the post above me says Charles E. Pierce confessed to killing a little girl he abducted from CT. He later recanted and authorities cant be sure
if he was telling the truth, That made me think of 10 year old Connie Smith who disappeared in the early 50s after leaving summer camp on foot. She has never been found.
This reminds me of a local case here in Idaho ive tried to research.
Sept.1951,13 year old Lonnie Jones had attended the 'Lumberjack Days' carnival here in Orofino.
He told his grandmother he wanted to stay later and catch a ride home with relatives who were also at the Fair.
The relatives never saw him. He was found three days later in a wooded area off Highway 12 near the Clearwater River.
He had been bound and sexually assaulted and had his throat cut ear to ear.
The case was never solved.
I grew up in the area although am younger than you guys....Wondering if Kenneth Hansen or Silas Jayne could have been responsible? The Schluesser and Peterson boys were found in a Chicago forest preserve in 1955.
Last edited by twinkiesmom; 01-02-2011 at 07:21 PM.
Having raised three boys to adulthood and now raising twin 4 year olds, my eyes well up with tears when I recant the memory of this event. I guess I needed to express this feeling with someone who cares also about the passing of this little boy. May he continue to rest in peace with God.
I hope you don't mind me asking this--what forest preserve did you find him in?
Also, I am unclear on this--I know from reading links in this thread that Pierce confessed to the killing--but it was never proven that he was being truthful, was it?
I would also add William "Freight Train" Guatney to the suspect list. He was working at fairs and carnivals in the Midwest around this time. Most of the boys that he molested and killed were about Billy's age.
This is my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.
Wow! I remember this case. I lived just over the line in Indiana and was in high school at the time but had younger siblings in this age group. I went off to college the following year, and did not know until reading this tonight that he had ever been found.
Kline, this is so reminiscent of Lonnie's case, it's scary.