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    Kipling R. Hess III (12) - Merritt Island FL, 1979

    Missing Since: March 27, 1979 from Merritt Island, Florida
    Classification: Endangered Missing
    Date Of Birth: August 2, 1966
    Age: 12 years old
    Height and Weight: 5'4, 90 pounds
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Hess's nickname is Kip.

    Details of Disappearance

    Hess was last seen on his way to school in Merritt Island, Florida on the morning of March 27, 1979. He never arrived for classes that day and has never been heard from again.

    John Rodney McRae is the prime and only suspect in Hess's case. A photograph of him is posted below this case summary. He met Hess a few days prior to the child's disappearance at a church carnival, and later assisted in the search for the missing boy. Several years later, police also found a missing person flier for Hess taped in McRae's locker at work.

    McRae murdered and dismembered an 8-year-old Michigan boy, Joey Housey, in the 1950s, when he was just sixteen. He served twenty years in prison for the crime. From 1976 to 1980, he worked as a guard at the Brevard Correctional Institution in Florida; the institution houses mostly teenagers. While McRae was working there, five local boys disappeared. One of them was a 19-year-old inmate, Charles Collingwood, who disappeared shortly after allegations were made that he had an inappropriate relationship with McRae. McRae is considered a suspect in that case, and also in the 1977 disappearance of 13-year-old Keith Fleming. None of the boys were ever found. McRae was convicted of the 1987 murder of a 14-year-old boy, Randy Ray Laufer. His conviction was later overturned on appeal, but he was convicted again in May 2005 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 70 years old and wheelchair-bound at the time of the retrial, he was found in his cell only two weeks later, dead of intestinal ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.

    Investigators strongly believe that McRae committed more murders than he was convicted of, including the murders of Hess, Fleming and Collingwood. They even offered him immunity from prosecution if he would reveal where the boys' bodies were, but he always maintained his innocence.

    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Brevard County Sheriff's Office


  2. #2
    Discuss Kipling's case here:

    [ame="https://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44654"]Kipling R. Hess III, 12, Missing March 27, 1979 from Merritt Island, FL - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]

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