There was a foster home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Gordon “Gordie” Page Jr. moved in the spring of 1991. The 28-year-old man, who had autism and was taking medicine to stop seizures, had trouble talking to people and taking care of himself. There was a visit from his father, Gordon Page Sr., to his home on May 21, 1991. When the visit was over and his father was leaving, he noticed that he seemed very nervous. Gordon told Gordie that he would see him again soon, but he had no idea that this would be the last time he would see his son. Gordie left the group home on May 27, 1991, and was never seen again.
Gordie had always been different from his friends, but he didn’t understand he couldn’t keep up with them until he was in junior high. Gordie was put in special education classes because no one had a firm diagnosis for him. He had a hard time understanding why he was having so much trouble keeping up with his classmates. His mother, Linda, remembered that the fact that he was no longer with his old classmates was upsetting him. “Eleventh and twelfth grade were tough for him because he couldn’t keep up with everyone else.”
Gordie had trouble in some of his classes, but he remembered things so well that it was like a picture. He had more than 25,000 baseball cards, and he was crazy about collecting them. He also knew every player’s stats by heart and could recite them without thinking.
Gordie got his high school diploma in 1981 and began looking for work. When he got hired to work at a nearby grocery store, he was thrilled. His father taught him how to deal with customers for hours on end. Gordie tried hard, but he couldn’t learn how to talk to strangers. As a result, he lost his job at the grocery store.
That’s where Gordon and Linda had always planned to live when they retired, but they were scared about what would happen to Gordie as they aged. They finally called a social worker to find out what they could do. The social worker agreed to look at Gordie and see if he was eligible for any services.
Gordie was told he had schizophrenia after meeting with the social worker and other professionals. Ritalin is a stimulant that is often prescribed to treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Valium is a sedative that is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and seizures. As his parents put it, “Gordon wasn’t Gordon after that.” Someone had told them about a great group home where their son seemed to do well, so they moved him there. The couple moved to Florida from Michigan in September 1989, leaving Gordie behind in Michigan.
At first, Gordie did well getting used to living in the group home. However, this was probably because the drugs he was on kept him somewhat calm. A worker left the truck running in the driveway, and Gordie stole it to get out of the group home a few months after his parents moved to Florida. He told his parents later that he took the truck to go see his brother in Texas, where he was going to college.
It was clear right away that Gordie wasn’t a good driver when he took the truck out on the road. After hitting another car, he ran away on foot and went to an elementary school nearby, where he asked nicely if he could teach a class. When someone at the school called the police, they picked up Gordie without any problems and took him to a psychiatric hospital to be evaluated.
While Gordie was in the hospital, psychiatrists found that the first diagnosis of schizophrenia they had given him was wrong; he was actually autistic. It became clear why the drugs he had been taking hadn’t helped with his behavior problems: he was being treated for something he didn’t have. “Once we got him off all those medications and started treating him as possibly autistic, working on training and just giving him respect, he was a whole different person,” said psychiatric social worker Bill Arnold.
Gordon and Linda made plans for Gordie to move into a new group home that had experience working with autistic people. The home they chose was in Cascade Township, Michigan, but they were still living in Florida. They thought Gordie would be happier staying close to where he had grown up and gone to high school. Moving out of state would have meant finding a new doctor, too. In late April 1991, Gordie moved into his new house.
Gordie’s parents were hopeful that he would do well in his new group home now that he was getting the right therapy and not taking too many drugs. A few weeks after his son moved into the Cascade Township home, Gordon drove from Florida to Michigan to see him. Gordie was mad when it was time for Gordon to leave. He saw his dad get into his van and start to drive off. Then he wriggled free from the security guards who were watching him and ran over to the van. He begged his dad over and over again to let him go home with him by banging on the car windows. Gordon kept going. He would feel bad about it for years to come.
Gordon would be called back to Michigan less than a week after he got back to Florida. Gordie broke a window at the group home and ran away on May 26, 1991. At first, police thought they would be able to quickly find the missing man because he was 6 feet 3 inches tall and had red hair, which made him easy to spot in a crowd. But they couldn’t figure out which way he went when he left the Cascade Township home.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department asked for help from the public and asked anyone who thought they saw someone who looked like Gordie to call them. They pointed out that Gordie didn’t have any ID or money on him, so he would need people to help him if he wanted to stay alive on the streets for a long time. Investigators were worried about Gordie’s safety because he didn’t have the medicine he needed to stop seizures and his autism made it hard for him to talk to people.
Gordon was very sad when his son Gordie went missing. He later said that he wished he hadn’t left Gordie in Michigan but had let him come home to Florida with him. To find Gordie as soon as possible, he and Linda spent more than $10,000 on missing posters and flyers that they put up all over Kent County, Michigan.
Gordon wouldn’t go back to Florida without his son. He looked for Gordie for hours and hours by walking up and down the streets of Grand Rapids, taking pictures in alleys, and walking through parks. Gordon told the press that he was worried about his son’s health as the search got into its third week. “We need to get to him quickly.” He will have seizures and die if he doesn’t get the right medicine.
Gordie was seen by many people, but not much solid information was available about where he was. One woman who worked in a store in Grand Rapids was sure he asked her for a drink of water and directions to “the police church.” Another said she saw Gordie sleeping on a picnic table in Riverside Park. After each sighting, Gordon looked for his son but couldn’t find him.
On June 15, 1991, Sgt. Kenneth Kleinheksel said that the fact that Gordie still hadn’t been found was a worry. “There’s not as much hope now…”It’s less likely to happen the longer he’s been missing. He talked to a doctor who had worked with autistic people before and was told that Gordie wouldn’t be able to stay on the streets for long.
Autism wasn’t well understood in 1991. Gordon told reporters about his son’s disorder, saying, “He sees and hears things, but they just don’t make sense.” He has an amazing memory.” If you asked him a question, he might not know the right answer, but he would be able to tell who someone is if he had met them before. He told them he just wanted to find them while holding back tears. “He was never a bother… we just need him back.”
On July 12, 1991, a construction crew working on Interstate 96 just outside of Lansing, Michigan, said they saw a person who looked like Gordie picking up cans and bottles from the side of the road. Gordon was hopeful that his son was still alive after seeing him. He asked anyone who saw Gordon to try to keep an eye on him while they called the police. “He won’t hurt anyone as long as they’re nice to him.”
Some people thought they saw Gordie hitchhiking on Interstate 96. He wouldn’t know where he would end up if he got a ride on the highway. Both Interstate 94, which goes to Billings, Montana, and Interstate 75, which goes south to Florida, are easy to get to from Interstate 96.
A body was found under an Interstate 96 overpass six weeks after Gordie was last seen. This showed that the missing man had been through the area. Under the overpass, a deck of baseball cards was found with three cards pulled out from the rest. The three cards that were missing were of Gordie’s three favorite players, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray, and Robin Yount. The police weren’t sure if the cards really belonged to Gordie, but it looked like they did. Many, many baseball cards were in Gordie’s collection. He might have left some on the side of the road when he left the group home by accident after stopping to rest.
As the months went by, fewer reports of seeing Gordie came in. Gordon and Linda kept hoping that Gordie was still alive and offered a $1,000 reward for information that led them to him. Gordon said that they had done everything they could think of to find their son as the first anniversary of his disappearance drew near. “I looked everywhere…”Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. We’ve been on TV, in newspapers, and sent out flyers all over the place. I’ve seen dowsers, psychics, and an Indian medicine man. Even though they worked hard, they still didn’t know what happened to Gordon.
Reporters were told by Sgt. Kleinheksel that he wasn’t nearly as hopeful as Gordie’s parents were. “I feel bad for Mr. Page. But after a year, it looks like he must be dead. Of course, his dad doesn’t believe that.
Gordon said that he had spent his whole life looking for his son and wasn’t going to give up. “My spouse cries a lot. I overworked my body by only getting two or three hours of sleep a night, and I ended up in the hospital…We just need to get back together as a family.” They didn’t think Gordie was dead, and neither did Linda or their other two sons.
Gordie’s case went on for years with no progress. Investigators said they had no idea what happened to the missing man. They didn’t think he would have made it through the night on his own, but the fact that his body had never been found gave his family hope that he was still alive somewhere.
When Gordie went missing in October 1994, it was the subject of an episode of the TV show “Unsolved Mysteries.” Gordon hoped that the show would help get the investigation going again after it had stopped and gone cold a few years before. After the show aired, more than 300 calls came in, but none of them led to Gordie.
In November 1994, a family friend told Gordon that another friend was sure they had seen Gordie walking near a car dealership that Gordon’s family had owned in the 1970s in Athens, Ohio. It seemed like a good tip because Gordie had been to the car dealership as a teenager and would have thought it was a familiar place, but no one else had seen him in Athens. If it had been Gordie, it wasn’t clear where he was going next.
His mom’s mom, Hedy Stenzel, died in January 2001. She was 93 years old. She never got over the death of her grandson and would often ask Linda and Gordon what was going on with his case. He put an ad in a Grand Rapids newspaper about her funeral so that his son would see it. He asked Gordie to get in touch with them so he could go to the funeral for his grandmother. He didn’t say anything if he saw it.
This was May 2001, and Gordie had been gone for 10 years. His family was still looking for him. Gordon refused to believe that his son might be dead. He believed that his son was probably being held in a hospital and not being able to say his name. “It’s better to end things when someone dies than when you don’t know.”
In 1994, Gordie’s case was taken over by Sgt. Chet Bush of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. He told reporters in 2001 that he didn’t know what happened to Gordie after he ran away from his group home. But he said he thought about the case every day and hoped to find answers for Gordon and Linda.
Gordie’s father passed away in January 2018 at the age of 81, and he never found out what happened to his beloved son. Gordie is listed as one of his survivors in his obituary. His family is still hopeful that he is still alive and wants to find him.
Gordie hasn’t been seen or heard from in over 32 years as of July 2023. What happened to him is still a mystery. At first, detectives thought he couldn’t have lived on his own, but since his body has never been found, he could still be alive and living as a John Doe somewhere, like in a hospital or group home.
Gordon Thomas Page Jr. was last seen in Cascade Township, Michigan, in May 1991. He was 28 years old. Gordie has autism and finds it hard to talk to other people. He was 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 170 pounds when he went missing. He has blue eyes and reddish-brown hair. Gordie wore a plaid shirt and blue jeans the last time he was seen. Please call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at 616-336-3133 if you know anything about Gordie.