Missing-child case reopened 41 years later

By CASEY NORTON
KOMO-TV STAFF

Forty-one years after a little boy disappeared near Issaquah, a new lead has surfaced in the cold case.

Detectives told the family of David Adams they've named a person of interest who may be talking to someone about the crime.

David Adams disappeared on May 3, 1968 while walking home from a friend's house near Tiger Mountain Road. He was 8 years old at the time.

Ann and Don Adams still lose their breath when they talk about their lost son.

"There will always be an empty place in our family," said Ann Adams.

In the massive search for the missing boy, Marine helicopters used infrared systems -- a new invention at the time. A thousand searchers combed the woods with the help of dozens of tracking dogs.

Detectives assumed the boy fell down a mine shaft, or was attacked by a cougar. They never suspected foul play, until Det. Scott Tompkins started to work this cold case earlier this year.

Tompkins says in 1968, police never followed up on tips about a neighbor, who was then 20 years old.

Forty-one years later, Tompkins called that person and subpoenaed his phone records. Based on his findings, the detective now considers the Lewis County man a person of interest.

"There is evidence in our investigation that our person of interest is trying to steer potential witnesses away from the police," said Tompkins. "That's why we served the search warrant, to contact more people within that inner circle."

Original police reports put that man in the area just minutes before David Adams disappeared. Dogs tracked a scent to his house, but never found a body.

KOMO News contacted that man on Wednesday. The man said the police are fishing for a lead, and that the revival of the decades-old case has been upsetting.

The Adams are more forgiving.

"I just don't want to point a finger of accusation at anyone until there is either a confession or some proof," said Ann Adams.

David Adams' parents say they made peace with his fate decades ago. But they're prepared to learn the truth.

"I think if there was a final resolution, it would put my mind at ease," said Don Adams.

Ann Adams says she'd like to believe her son died in an accident that was covered up by someone in a panic.

"I think for us, it's resolved. But I know that somebody out there is carrying a terrible burden," said Ann Adams, "because I know he wasn't just lost."

KOMO News has chosen not to name the person of interest in the case since he has not been charged with any crimes.

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