Russell Bovit disappeared in May 1986. He was last seen at his home on the Last Resort Farm in Walden, Vermont, by two friends on May 6. He was reported missing on May 11 after his car was found abandoned. Police suspected foul play early in the investigation, though there were few reported clues found. Police and private investigators followed leads that they hoped would close the case, but Russell has never been located.
Russell, whose nickname is Russ, was a part-time student at Lyndon State College. His father, Robert, bought the Last Resort Farm, where Russell lived, in 1980. He had sold his portion of the farm to a co-owner earlier in 1986. Russell was planning to attend the University of Vermont in the fall, and was considering purchasing property in Stowe. He did not show up to a meeting to discuss the purchase on May 7, which was the first sign something was wrong.
Russell’s car, a light blue 1974 Renault, was found on a back road near Cole’s Pond, about four miles from his home. There was blood in the trunk and on the passenger side of the car. Russell’s wallet was found during a search of his house. The sheets had been taken from his bed, and there was blood on the mattress, which had been flipped over, seemingly in an attempt to hide the blood. The blood found in both locations belonged to the same person.
Robert Bovit hired private investigators to search for his son. He placed ads in local newspapers requesting information about his son and offering a $50,000 reward, but no one responded. A year after the disappearance, a state police detective said the police had no substantial leads. “We still do get little bits of information here and there, and we check them all out. But it doesn’t look like very good news,” he said.
Garth Drew, a convicted murderer, claimed to be responsible for Russ’s disappearance. He told authorities he had put Russ’s body in a trailer, then dumped the trailer in Lake Willoughby. The lake was searched, but no clues were found. Private investigators believed Russ had been murdered by a man who died three months after the disappearance. In 2004, Robert Bovit said he thought this theory was correct and that the murder was related to marijuana. No one has been convicted of any crimes associated with Russ’s disappearance.
At the time of his disappearance, Russell was 30 years old. He was about 6 feet tall and weighed approximately 160 pounds. He had brown, greying hair and blue eyes, and may have had a mustache.
Anyone with information about Russell’s disappearance should contact the Vermont State Police:
(802) 222-4680. Tips can be submitted anonymously at vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit, or by texting VTIPS to 274637 (CRIMES).
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