Gordon Page Jr. was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 1991. He lived in a group home that helped him navigate some of the more difficult aspects of adulthood, while giving him enough independence to live a full life. His parents hoped that it would help him learn some skills.
While the group home he was in is located in Kent, Michigan, his parents lived in Florida at the time. The Charley Project reports that he was put in the home in March and his father came to see him on May 21. The men talked about Gordon's baseball card collection and other hobbies he was getting into.
The visit seemed to be a happy one, with both men being thrilled to see one another.
Until shortly before the senior Page was due to leave. Gordon wanted to live with his parents in Florida, something that they weren't comfortable with. It is believed that they wanted their son to learn to live on his own.
When his father tried to leave, Gordon attempted to get into the van with him. Things spiraled from there when he was not allowed to leave. It broke the older man's heart, but he knew that it was the right thing to do.
At least that's what he thought. Gordon might be sad at first, but he would see that this was for the greater good. And when they came to see him again, he would happily show off the new life skills that he picked up. That did not happen.
Because on May 27, 1991, Gordon went missing.
When Gordon left the home, he didn't bring his identification card on him. Nor did he bring any cash. This left him in a very vulnerable position, he couldn't grab a taxi or make a phone call if he got lost.
After the first reports of him going missing, several witnesses came forward. Gordon was seen trying to hitchhike along I-96 in Grand Rapids. This gave investigators something to work with in the early stages of looking for him.
Six weeks after he was last seen, some of Gordon's baseball cards were found under an overpass. This gave some credence to the fact that he was trying to hitchhike, though no one is quite certain where he was attempting to go. WDIV says that the theory is that he wanted to get to Florida with his parents.
The scattering of the cards indicated that this might have been the plan. There were some found near Detroit and another set near Chicago.
Yet, there was no sign of Gordon himself.
Over the years, many people have reported seeing him. Mostly around Michigan, but there have also been some sightings in Canada as well.
Those who claim to have seen him say that not much has changed about the man in the 30 years that he has been missing. They say that he still collects baseball cards and wants to be independent.
Some allege that he has been seen collecting bottles to make some money. Others say that he works with migrant workers, getting paid under the table.
To date, none of these sightings have been substantiated.
Why Wasn't He Found?
Some people have theorized that there might have been a medical emergency with Gordon. They believe he could have been admitted to a hospital as a John Doe. If he were treated and released, it would have happened without anyone ever knowing who he was.
Since Gordon was a high-functioning autism patient, he might have been able to get by with nary a glance. The Detroit Free Press says that people with autism spectrum disorder are more likely to go missing.
Alan Nanavaty, executive director of the Missing Children's Division at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children told the Freep: “From our analysis and from our partners at the National Autism Association and Autism Speaks, there are examples of children on the autism spectrum that show they seem to be attracted to bodies of water, roadways, traffic signals, trucks, sirens, and a number of different things for a number of different reasons..."
Gordon Page jr. might have been attracted to a certain car or vehicle. Once he was in it, he may not have known where he was going and gotten lost. Which made it more difficult for the police and other investigators to find him.
If you have information regarding Gordon's whereabouts, please call the Kent County Sheriff's Office at 616-336-3133.