(FORT KENT, Maine) — Nearly 40 years after Bernard Ross disappeared from his Maine home, his parents received a mysterious letter about him, renewing police interest in his missing person’s case.
The letter about Bernard Ross Jr., who was 18 when he disappeared in 1977 after leaving the family’s home in Fort Kent, arrived at the parents’ home “a couple of months ago,” according to The Portland Press Herald.
The police brought the story to the public hoping that press attention might coax the author of the correspondence to contact police.
The letter to Ross’ parents referenced a report about Ross published in a paper called The Kennebec Journal.
Maine State Police Lt. Troy Gardner said authorities are not releasing the contents of the letter, and that the family is going through a wide range of emotions after being in touch with police throughout the years.
As for whether the letter is authentic, Gardner told ABC News Wednesday, “That’s the question. We don’t know if it’s a hoax. If it is a hoax, it’s just a terrible thing to do to a family.”
A page detailing information about Ross on “The Charley Project,” an independently run non-profit website devoted to locating missing persons, says he was last seen on Realty Road in Ashland, Maine.
He was “despondent at the time of his disappearance,” the project says.
Meaghan Good, who runs The Charley Project website as a volunteer, told ABC News that the details in her report were cobbled together from a confluence of sources, including The Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a private nonprofit, tips found on Websleuths, a web-forum devoted to amateur crime solving, and old newspaper clippings from the Daily Bangor News, a paper focused on rural Maine.
She claimed her site has helped families locate missing people in the past, including a man who disappeared from New Mexico in 2004.
ABC News has been unable to reach the parents.
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