A cold case is heating up. Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch vanished without a trace in 1982. But, now, after KWWL's story last month on Johnny's disappearance, there is new information on the case.
A private investigator working Johnny's disappearance believe his kidnapping was part of a government conspiracy. The investigator shared new evidence with KWWL and it could be the break needed to solve this case. That evidence includes a recorded phone call that has never been heard publicly, until now.
During the early morning of September 5, 1982, Johnny Gosch was kidnapped from a West Des Moines neighborhood while delivering newspapers. It was silent, quick and professional. "This man has told us that at the end of their investigation that there were 834 kids involved that were kidnapped," says James Rothstein. He's talking about a former CIA agent who must remain anonymous.
Rothstein is a former New York City police detective, now a private investigator working the case for Johnny's mother, Noreen. And within the last couple weeks, Rothstein has uncovered new evidence linking Johnny's kidnapping to child prostitution. "It basically came down to one thing and one thing only. You know, it was money. These kids were being grabbed to satisfy the malignant, twisted, you know, evil depravity of very powerful individuals who have the money," he says.
Rothstein is talking about individuals who would spend as much as $10,000 to have sex with young boys and girls. And this new evidence points to the involvement of U.S. government officials. "They were using kids to compromise people. And what better way to compromise somebody than get a young boy with a politician or some powerful person that may be in the military or whatever and then you can compromise them and get what ever you want."
Last month, people on the internet and investigators like Rothstein began to believe a man who passed himself off as a White House reporter and known male prostitute Jeff Gannon could be Johnny Gosch. And while Gannon's true idenity still can't be confirmed, Rothstein says the more clues he uncovers, the possibility Gannon may be Gosch increases, "When you look into the whole abduction of Johnny, what happened, the cover-up that took place, the way the kidnapping was done, this was a professional job and it fits the profile that I have seen over the years as a professional investigator."
Rothstein now believes the CIA was involved and tried cover it up. "They were assigned to find out if there was an agency connection to it and I am quite sure that if they found one, to make sure it was covered," he says.
And Rothstein's CIA informant says this: "We were specifically ordered to clear our name. This would make the American agency look pretty s****y, like we're all a bunch of f***ing child molesters."
We requested information from the CIA on three kidnappings, Rothstein and his CIA informant believes to be connected. The first, Johnny Gosch, the second, Eugene Martin, kidnapped on August 12th, 1984 while delivering newspapers in Des Moines.
And, Jacob Wetterling, who was kidnapped from his Minnesota neighborhood on October 22, 1989. The CIA responded to our request with this letter, denying the agency investigated any of the kidnapping cases. But, Rothstein's source says, it happened often and for big bucks, "You could order one of these kids, it was $2,500 to $3,000 up front then you had the balance of another $3,000 to $3,500 or $4,000 upon completion. In some cases, you know depending on the circumstances you can probably get them at the bargain basement price of $1,500, but most I think that we ever saw was for the bondage and the freaky s**t and that was an even $10,000 and people... these people would hand that money out like it was candy."
That's what it cost to hire a kidnapper to steal a child like Johnny off the street. And with new details like this coming to light, catching Johnny's kidnappers might actually happen. "Any police agency that would get involved in this case to this date can solve that case. The case is more solvable now, than it has even been. And that case should have been solved hours after it happened. The witnesses are out there. You yourself have found some," Rothstein says.
Those witnesses include a Black Hawk County woman who wishes to remain anonymous. She sent Rothstein this packet of information. "Johnny Gosch is mentioned in it involving something that was going on years ago in the Waterloo, Iowa area," Rothstein says.
And while Rothstein hasn't determined the significance of the possible Waterloo connection, he says it's just as important as the phone conversation he had with a CIA agent. "That's solid information with names. That's where you start investigating and that should have been done years ago," he says.
And because it wasn't, Rothstein continues to make phone calls, and work leads, hoping his next big break is the one that solves the mystery behind the disappearance of Johnny Gosch.
For the past month, Rothstein has been tracking the activities of two suspects he believes could be responsible for kidnapping Johnny Gosch. We couldn't name them in our report because it hurt the investigation. We agreed to keep their identities secret so we could tell you this story.