Johnny Gosch's house

Missing Person House in West Des Moines, Iowa

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Johnny Gosch's house

This is Johnny Gosch's former house.

It is located at 1004 45th Street in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The 12-year-old paperboy vanished from his neighborhood on September 5th, 1982, and has been missing ever since.

On the morning of his disappearance, Gosch left this house and walked to the corner of Ashworth Road and 42nd Street, where he picked up a stack of newspapers that he was supposed to deliver.

A few hours later, a neighbor called Gosch's father and complained that he hadn't received his morning newspaper.

Thinking it was odd, he went looking for his son. As he was walking through the quiet suburban neighborhood, he came across the red pull-along wagon that Johnny used to tow his stack of newspapers.

The wagon had been abandoned on the corner of Marcourt Lane and 42nd Street, which was just one block east of the Gosch family home.

Significantly, the wagon was still full—a sign that he hadn't completed any of his deliveries.

Although Gosch's father was concerned about this discovery, his anxiety hadn't yet reached the point where he felt it was necessary to contact the police.

Instead of raising the alarm, he reasoned that he should take the wagon and complete the route himself. That way, he could visit each street and search the neighborhood.

However, as time drifted by and there was still no sign of Johnny, the knot in his stomach continued to grow. He knew that this was extremely out of character for his son, as he was a responsible young boy who always completed his work on time.

Consequently, he decided to alert the authorities.

Initially, the police theorized that Gosch may have run away. However, this changed after witnesses reported that a stocky man in a blue car had been driving around the area at the time.

Witnesses said the man in question approached Gosch on two occasions and asked him for directions.

Another person claimed that they had seen a silver Ford Fairmont parked near the corner where the wagon was later found.

Despite these reports, the investigation into his disappearance revealed little evidence, and no trace of the 12-year-old was ever found.

Although the authorities believe that he was kidnapped, no arrests have ever been made.

Johnny Gosch house address

The address and the GPS coordinates for this location are as follows:


1004 45th Street, West Des Moines, Iowa, IA 50266, USA


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GPS coordinates

The latitude and longitude coordinates for the house are:

41.585096, -93.764530


Gosch's former house is at the end of a small cul-de-sac that is accessible via 42nd Street and Marcourt Lane. It lies to the south of the John MacVicar Freeway. It is just around the corner from the Valley United Methodist Church.

Details about the general area

West Des Moines is situated in the Des Moines metropolitan area in Iowa.


Photos of the house and other related images.


Johnny Gosch map

This aerial map highlights the relevant locations.

That morning, Gosch left his house, cut through a neighbor's yard, and walked to the paper drop, which was on the corner of Ashworth Road and 42nd Street.

Once there, he chatted with another paperboy called Mike.

During the investigation, it was revealed that a stocky man in a blue car had been driving around the area at the time. Mike said that the man approached Gosch near the paper drop and asked him for directions to 86th Street.

After being given directions, the man drove away.

Paper drop

Paper drop

Gosch spoke with Mike after he reached the corner of Ashworth and 42nd Street.

As the boys were chatting and loading up their wagons, the stranger in the blue car returned and started asking them for directions again.

While Gosch was talking to the man, a neighbor named John Rossi arrived at the corner to pick up newspapers for his two sons, who were also paperboys.

When Gosch saw Rossi, he asked him to speak to the man in the blue car and give him directions to 86th Street.

Rossi agreed and walked over to the car. Meanwhile, Gosch grabbed his wagon and started heading north along 42nd Street (in the direction of the red arrow).

While Rossi was giving the man directions, he noticed that he seemed somewhat agitated. Moments later, the man turned his interior lights on three times and then sped off.

The man reportedly drove east along Ashworth Road before turning north onto 39th Street.

Rossi said that the man was unshaven, with black hair and beady eyes. He also seemed high.

Coordinates: 41.584715, -93.761349

Google Maps

Gosch's route


Rossi stated that the man in the car drove east along Ashworth Road before turning north onto 39th Street (the blue route).

Meanwhile, Gosch was walking along 42nd Street (the yellow route).

If the man did abduct the 12-year-old, then it is likely that he circled around the block.

Marcourt Lane and 42nd Street

Marcourt Lane and 42nd Street

Gosch's red wagon was found abandoned on the corner of Marcourt Lane and 42nd Street.

The paperboy often left the wagon here while he was delivering papers to a nearby cul-de-sac called Francrest Circle.

Notably, there were no signs of a struggle.

Coordinates: 41.586047, -93.761365

Google Maps

Francrest Circle

Francrest Circle

Francrest Circle was just 280 feet north of the location where the red wagon was found.

A paperboy claimed that a tall man approached Gosch from behind while he was walking towards the corner of Marcourt.

Another neighbor stated that they saw a silver Ford Fairmont parked on the same corner. Although they didn't see Gosch, they reportedly heard a car door slam shut shortly afterwards.

Unfortunately, witnesses can be unreliable, especially when they are recalling events that didn't seem important to them at the time. As a result, the details can get blurred, and the timeline can become distorted.

In this case, we have two different cars and an unidentified man who reportedly followed Gosch up 42nd Street. To confuse matters even more, the paperboy who saw this "tall man" was unsure if it was the same person who was driving the blue car or not.

Only one witness reported seeing the Ford Fairmont. Furthermore, they did not see what the driver looked like.

Frustratingly, the only thing that seems 100% certain in this case is that Gosch went missing shortly after he left his house on 45th Street.

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This location belongs to the following categories:

Missing PeopleUnsolved Cases

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