Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Tragic Mishap or Murder at Escanaba?

The Milwaukee Journal, September 21, 1963

Though the drowning deaths of two missing Escanaba boys, John Jensen, 10, and his playmate 7-year-old Charles Kobasic in the fall of 1963 were considered an accidental tragedy the circumstances surrounding both their disappearance and recovery were considered suspicious and consistent with an abduction. A subsequent autopsy corroborated that the drownings were accidental and despite the fact that the man, Arthur Baznar, who found the two lifeless bodies claimed that he dreamed where the corpses could be found and then proceeded to the very place where they were recovered, police too determined that no foul play had occurred despite earlier suspicions.

During the fruitless week-long search for the boys witnesses had spotted two boys matching their description at Ludington Park, south of Escanaba, where the bodies were eventually found, as well as a report that they were seen hitchhiking and also in an area several miles from their homes. The lagoon at Ludington Park, about a mile from their homes, had been dredged several times and the entire surrounding area scoured by more than 2,000 volunteers from local businesses and high schools which had closed down to engage in the hunt for the missing boys.

Baznar, 45, a recent transplant to the area from Chicago claimed he had a dream that the boys drowned in the yacht basin and told his landlord of his nocturnal premonition stating the specific location. She encouraged him to search the area if he believed what he had dreamed to be true and he did just. Within minutes of his arrival at Ludington Park he spotted the body of Johnny Jensen and began to tell other park visitors of his find but for some reason the witnesses were reluctant to believe his story.

Finally, he convinced two men, William Flath and Harold Olsen, to contact the sheriff's department and a recovery team was summoned and found the boy's bodies.  Despite the notion that the boys were not adept swimmers and fearful of the water it was determined that they had been playing on a rickety raft several dozen feet from shore and drowned accidentally. Baznar was questioned by authorities but deemed to be truthful in his accounts of the events leading to the recovery of the bodies.


Search On For 2 Boys In Escanaba, The Owosso Argus-Press, September 16, 1963

200 Hunt Missing Boys At Escanaba, The Milwaukee Journal, September 17, 1963

Hunt For Boys At Escanaba Still Fruitless, The Milwaukee Sentinel, September 18, 1963

Fear Foul Play In Disappearance Of Escanaba Boys, The Milwaukee Sentinel, September 19, 1963

Search For 2 Missing Boys Is Stepped Up, The Owosso Argus-Press, September 19, 1963

untitled, The Ludington Daily News, September 19, 1963

Bodies Of Two Missing Boys Found, The Owosso Argus-Press, September 23, 1963

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for the one involving Joseph Sarasin and his wife Bonnie Tryan