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    Billy Gaffney (4) - Brooklyn NY, 1927

    Missing Since: February 11, 1927 from Brooklyn, New York
    Classification: Non-Family Abduction
    Age: 4 years old
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Gaffney had a thin build at the time of his disappearance, and he has a pale complexion. He has a scar on his lower lip and a birthmark on his abdomen.
    Clothing/Jewelry Description: Shabby navy blue knickers, a gray middy blouse, black stockings and black shoes.

    Details of Disappearance

    Gaffney was last seen in the hallway outside of his Brooklyn, New York City, New York apartment on February 11, 1927. He was playing with two neighbor boys, a three-year-old and a twelve-year-old. The older boy went inside his apartment and when he returned, both Gaffney and the three-year-old were gone.

    The three-year-old was found alone up on the roof of the apartment building. When questioned about Gaffney he stated that a "boogey man" had taken the child. Later that day in Brooklyn, a streetcar motorman, Joseph Meehan, noticed an elderly man attempting to pacify a small boy. The boy, who did not have a coat or hat on although the weather was cold, was crying and saying he wanted to go home and see his mother. Meehan later identified the child as Gaffney. He has never been heard from again.

    Investigators originally doubted the three-year-old's story and thought Gaffney had simply wandered off. They searched neighborhood factory buildings and local canals without result, and concluded that the child had in fact been abducted. The three-year-old described the "boogey man" as a slender, elderly man with gray hair and a gray moustache.

    Gaffney's case was highly publicized but remained a mystery until 1934, when Albert Hamilton Fish was arrested. A photograph of Fish is posted below this case summary. He was charged with the murder of ten-year-old Grace Budd, who was abducted in 1928; he was caught after writing a letter to Budd's mother in which he described how he had killed her daughter. Fish lead investigators to Budd's body after he was apprehended. During his trial, Meehan identified him as the man he saw with Gaffney the night the child disappeared.

    Fish confessed to Gaffney's murder, Budd's, and the slayings of several other children. He pleaded insanity at the Budd trial, but was convicted and sentenced to death. He was not charged in any other cases.

    Gaffney's case was considered closed after Meehan's identification and Fish's confession. It is no longer being investigated by law enforcement. His remains have never been found, however.

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    Last edited by KateB; 05-25-2015 at 02:01 AM. Reason: repair url tag.

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