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Photos said not to depict missing boy

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  • Alfred
    DES MOINES, Iowa - The photos of bound and gagged boys that were sent to an Iowa woman whose son disappeared 24 years ago were investigated in the late 1970s
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2006
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      DES MOINES, Iowa - The photos of bound and gagged boys that were
      sent to an Iowa woman whose son disappeared 24 years ago were
      investigated in the late 1970s and are not her missing son, a
      retired Florida sheriff's investigators said Wednesday.

      Nelson Zalva, who now works for the Hillsborough County, Fla., State
      Attorney's Office, said he investigated the same photos while
      working for the county's sheriff in 1978 or 1979.

      "I remember this case," he said. "I identified the kids portrayed in
      the photos. It was definitely investigated by me several years prior
      to the disappearance of Johnny Gosch."

      The photos were in an envelope left at the West Des Moines home of
      Johnny's mother, Noreen Gosch, on Aug. 27.

      One photo, in black and white, shows a boy bound and gagged on a
      bed. Another is a color photo of the same boy in a similar pose with
      two others boys.

      Noreen Gosch turned the photos over to police, who have been
      investigating the authenticity of the photos and any connection her
      son.

      Johnny was 12 when he disappeared from his neighborhood before
      daybreak on Sept. 5, 1982. His photo was became one of the first of
      a missing child to be put on a milk carton. Police have said they
      believe he was abducted but they have few clues.

      Zalva said his investigation never resulted in an arrest because the
      children in the photos never admitted that the suspect touched them
      inappropriately. He said the boys in the photos had voluntarily
      posed for the photos, but he couldn't recall why.

      "Basically, what happened is someone, maybe it was one of the
      parents, found the photos and called the sheriff's office and
      deputies went out there, impounded the photos and the case was
      assigned to me for investigation," Zalva said. "I worked a long time
      on it, getting the kids identified."

      Lt. Jeff Miller, a West Des Moines Police spokesman, said the
      investigation is continuing into who left the photos at Noreen
      Gosch's house.

      "If they are not of Johnny Gosch, someone is playing a horrible
      prank," he said.

      Miller said Gosch has been informed of the Florida investigation.

      A telephone message left Wednesday morning for Gosch was not
      immediately returned.
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