WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- On the morning of Sunday, September 5, 1982, Johnny Gosch, a 12-year-old paperboy, left his West Des Moines home at 1004 45th Street to begin his paper route, but never returned home.
“I can’t believe it’s been this long. I’ve spent more than half my life working on this,” said Ron Sampson of The Johnny Gosch Foundation. "I still feel like it just happened yesterday. My kids have grown. They've got kids Johnny's age now. I have grandkids Johnny's age.”
There have been thousands of calls and tips, but no arrest in the case that has now been the focus of several documentaries, books, and movies.
As each day passes, Sampson knows the chances of finding Johnny dwindle, but he has no other option than to be optimistic.
"Absolutely," said Sampson. "It gives you hope and you think that maybe someday, that who ever perpetrated this or who knew the person who perpetrated this will have a guilty conscience, guiltier than it has been, and maybe give us some kind of revelation on what happened, why it happened, how it happened."
Sampson stressed all it takes is one person to step up, and this case could be solved.
"You pray every night and you hope every time you see the news or every time you come across a story, like a year ago, the little boy in Minnesota that was discovered, that was found. You just hope something like that happens for John and Noreen, for their sake,” said Sampson.
Sampson does have hope, and believes one day there will be answers to the mystery of what happened to Johnny Gosch.