In December 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program released a special missing persons poster. On it were two photos of the same person – one at 6-years old, the other was a 25 year age progression of the same little boy.
For 25 years the disappearance of 6-year old Jesus de la Cruz has hung over the State of Massachusetts as one of the most baffling missing persons cases in Bay State History. Despite suspicion cast on a man in the neighborhood, rumors of drug debt retaliation, accusations cast on the boy’s own mother, and FBI involvement, Jesus’s case remains unsolved.
Some wonder if maybe he could be alive out there somewhere, now a 31-year old man, looking just like the age progressed photo on the FBI poster.
This case is one that I’ve received multiple requests to cover from Dark Downeasters in Massachusetts. When you bring these cases to my attention, I hear you. This is the case of Jesus De La Cruz. Press play to hear the full story on Dark Downeast.
It was early evening on September 28, 1996 and Jesus de la Cruz was making his way home after playing with his friend 8-year old Bernard Edwards near Bennett Circle. Although Jesus had a bike that would’ve made the trip home a little faster as the sun came down, his pink Huffy bicycle had two flat tires so he walked alongside it as he pushed the handlebars in the direction of home.
Although he was just 6-years old, playing with friends in his neighborhood unattended was the norm for Jesus. It was the mid-90s and while stranger danger was absolutely a concept kids and parents knew and understood, there’s a perceived safety when you’re playing off your own street, within walking distance of your own home.
As they made the slow and steady trek back home, a man walking his dog took notice of the two boys, Jesus with his bicycle clearly out of commission. The man approached Jesus and his friend, leading his Collie alongside him.
The man began chatting with the two young boys and asked Jesus about his bike with the two flat tires. He told Jesus he had a brand new blue Huffy bicycle, and Jesus could have it, if he wanted. Leaving his friend Bernard behind, Jesus followed the man on a promise of a new bike.
Jesus is Missing
When Magdalena Rodriguez got home around 7 p.m. on the night of September 28, 1996, Jesus wasn’t there. Though he had free reign of the neighborhood during daylight hours, it was immediately concerning that he wasn’t back home after dusk. Magdalena knew all the places he was known to play, so she stepped back out the door and started looking for her son.
She zigzagged the West Lynn neighborhood streets, calling out for Jesus, looking for signs of him in all the usual spots. As each hour ticked by without a single sign of her son, the worry mounted. Finally, the mother knew this was a search she couldn’t continue on her own. After midnight, Magdalena Rodriguez called police to report Jesus missing.
Episode Source Material
- Jesus De La Cruz – Charley Project
- JESUS DE LA CRUZ – LYNN, MASSACHUSETTS – FBI Listing
- Man held in Lynn; boy still missing by Martin Finucane, SouthCoast Today, 01 Oct 1996
- Lynn man allegedly was with boy by Judith Gaines and Pamela Ferdinand, Boston Globe, 01 Oct 1996
- Youth group had rejected Lynn man by Pamela Ferdinand and Ric Kahn, Boston Globe, 05 Oct 1996
- Missing boy’s father issues plea by Richard Chacon and Doreen Iudica Vigue, Boston Globe, 06 Oct 1996
- Missing Lynn boy’s mother flunks polygraph by Brian MacQuarrie and Michele R. McPhee, Boston Globe, 07 Oct 1996
- Missing boy’s father was once accused of abuse, records show by Ric Kahn and Pamela Ferdinand, Boston Globe, 10 Oct 1996
- DSS targets mother of Lynn boy, 6, over delay in reporting him missing by Pamela Ferdinand and Ric Kahn, Boston Globe, 11 Oct 1996
- Lynn boy’s mother sees prejudice behind quest for drug tie by Pamela Ferdinand and Ric Kahn, Boston Globe, 12 Oct 1996
- At the center of a maelstrom by Pamela Ferdinand, Boston Globe, 13 Oct 1996, page 2
- Suspect in boy’s disappearance released, Nashua Daily Telegraph, 27 Nov 1996
- Lynn mother clings to hope missing son will be found by Kathy McCabe, Boston Globe, 27 Sep 1997
- Case unsolved: Lynn boy still missing, Associated Press, Cape Cod Times, 09 Sep 1998
- Lost in translation by Barbara Taormina, Wicked Local, 25 Jan 2007
- After 20 years, Jesus De La Cruz is still missing by Gayla Cawly, Daily Item, 25 Sep 2016
- Fireball Run team searches for missing Lynn boy by Jim Sullivan, Newburyport News, 30 Sep 2016
- New England’s Unsolved: Jesus De La Cruz 25 years later by Bob Ward, Boston 25 News, 13 Dec 2021