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Porchlight International for the Missing & Unidentified > Missing Persons 1960 > Kreman, Bruce 7-13-1960

Title: Kreman, Bruce 7-13-1960
Description: Los Angeles, CA 7 years old

Ell - March 7, 2007 01:59 PM (GMT)
Bruce Kremen
Name: Bruce Kremen
Missing: Jul 13, 1960
Age: 7
Sex: M
Descent: White
Height: 4'5"
Weight: 65
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown
Missing From: Los Angeles
Report #: 06-9925303

The missing person was attending a camp with approximately 80 other children. Documents state that on July 13, 1960, Kremen apparently became separated from the group. The missing person was never found and his body has not been recovered.

Los Angeles Police Department
Detective Support Division
Missing Persons Unit
150 N. Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, California 90012
Phone# 213-485-5381 (24 Hours)
1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855) - 24 Hours

Age Calculated From Time of Missing

burnsjl2003 - June 21, 2008 01:56 AM (GMT)

burnsjl2003 - June 21, 2008 02:01 AM (GMT)
Bruce Kremen
Kremen, circa 1960
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: July 12, 1960 from the Angeles National Forest, California
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: July 21, 1953
Age: 6 years old
Height and Weight: 4'5, 65 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: Blue jeans and a white t-shirt with the words "Summer Fun Club" printed on the front.

Details of Disappearance
Kremen was last seen near Buckhorn Flat in the Angeles National Forest in California on July 12, 1960. He was camping with a group of approximately 80 children and adults from the Young Men Christian's Association (YMCA) in Los Angeles, California at the time. He was playing with two other children about 300 yards from the YMCA campsite when he became separated from them and was never seen again. The group realized Kremen was missing just a few minutes after he disappeared and they conducted a search of the area, but turned up no signs as to his whereabouts.
Authorities initially believed Kremen had become lost or injured in the mountains, and a massive search was conducted in the days following his disappearance. The area where he disappeared is very rugged with many chasms and cliffs. Kremen is now believed to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances, however. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and resided in the 11000 block of Dempsey Avenue in Grenada Hills, California in 1960.

Authorities believe Mack Ray Edwards was responsible for Kremen's disappearance, and a string of other children's disappearances and homicides in California. In 1970, Edwards pleaded guilty to killing three California children and sentenced to death at his own request. He confessed to killing Brenda Howell, Donald Baker and Roger Madison as well, and authorities believe he was also most likely responsible for the disappearances of Karen Tompkins and Thomas Bowman. Edwards lead authorities to a site where he said he had buried some of his victims, but no evidence was located. He committed suicide on death row in 1971. A photograph of Edwards is posted below this case summary. His alleged victims ranged in age from eight years to sixteen.

Kremen's case was reopened in 2007 as authorities renewed the search for the bodies of Edwards's victims. He was employed as a heavy equipment operator in the 1950s and 1960s, and helped construct many highways across the state of California. Investigators believe he may have buried the children's remains under the highways. Foul play is suspected in Kremen's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

POI: Mack Ray Edwards

Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Source Information
California Attorney General's Office
The Whittier Daily News
The Los Angeles Times
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.
Last updated March 20, 2007; details of disappearance updated.
Charley Project Home

burnsjl2003 - June 21, 2008 02:03 AM (GMT)

monkalup - April 25, 2009 03:44 AM (GMT)
June 4th, 2007
Bruce Kremen Update
Last year I posted about a little boy named Bruce Kremen who went missing in California in 1960, and I just realized I never posted an incredible update to this story. Another writer, Weston DeWalt, who was investigating another boy who went missing in California, Tommy Bowman, actually came across new evidence and now the LAPD Cold Case Squad is investigating a serial killer named Mack Ray Edwards for murdering Tommy. They’re considering Edwards for the murder of up to 13 other children including Bruce Kremen.

I had originally called the Missing Person’s department of the LAPD to ask where the case was left, expecting to be told something along the lines of, “the last lead in the Bruce Kremen case was over forty years ago.” But then Missing Persons told me the Cold Case Squad had the case. I knew that meant a new lead.

Weston DeWalt, wrote a book with Anatoli Boukreev called The Climb, which was written as a rebuttal to Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air, is working on a book about this investigation. Here’s an article about the story.

monkalup - April 25, 2009 03:46 AM (GMT)
Child victim of serial murderer to be excavated
Investigators says they've pinpointed where the child was buried along the 23 Freeway in Thousand Oaks. The boy was among as many as 18 children killed by Mack Ray Edwards in the 1950s and '60s.
By Andrew Blankstein
October 03, 2008

Investigators on the trail of a notorious serial killer say they are close to uncovering another of the children he said he killed.

They plan soon to excavate a site in Ventura County, looking for the remains of Roger Dale Madison, a 16-year-old boy whom Mack Ray Edwards confessed to stabbing to death four decades ago.

Edwards, a heavy-equipment operator, told Los Angeles police in 1970 that he had killed six boys and girls over a 15-year period. He later told a Los Angeles County jailer that the real number of victims was closer to 18.

Police believe he buried the children near the freeway construction sites where he worked during California's freeway-building boom of the 1950s and '60s. Each body they find gives them more information about his methods, which could help link him to other crimes.

Edwards hanged himself in a San Quentin prison cell in 1971. But before his death, he provided key details that led investigators to the site where he disposed of his first victim, eight-year-old Stella Darlene Nolan, who disappeared in 1953.

Her remains were unearthed in Downey, under 8 feet of earth, near a bridge abutment under the Santa Ana Freeway.

Mack, who moved to Los Angeles from Arkansas, also described killing Madison, a friend and classmate of his teenage son. He told detectives he used a bulldozer to dispose of the youth somewhere along the 23 Freeway in Thousand Oaks, during the time when that freeway was being built.

"It was his intimate knowledge of these often desolate sites, where it was easy to dispose of a body with little danger of discovery, that I think allowed him to kill repeatedly," said LAPD Det. Vivian Flores. "His work was a huge part of it. It was essential to his crimes."

Flores would not divulge the exact location of the planned excavation or say when it will get underway. But she said the preliminary investigation has allowed detectives to narrow down the potential sites where he might be buried to a spot described on old engineering calendars as a compaction hole. There have been strong indications in testing that something in the ground there does not fit its surroundings, she said.

Freeway engineers use compaction holes during construction to determine if underlying soil can support the structures being built above them.

monkalup - April 25, 2009 03:49 AM (GMT)
News of the Arroyo
Killer's dead, but they're still on his trail
A researcher casts light on a long-dead child molester in forgotten L.A. tragedies
Andrew Blankstein
Los Angeles Times
Mack Ray Edwards walked into the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill station on March 6, 1970, and said he wanted to clear his conscience.

The 51-year-old heavy-equipment operator calmly told a detective that he had molested and killed six children over two decades across Los Angeles County.

Edwards was arrested, pleaded guilty to three of the slayings and was sentenced to death. Before he was sent to San Quentin, he made an even more startling admission: He had actually killed 18 children. Detectives began to investigate the claim, but before they could get more information, Edwards hanged himself with a television cord in his cell on death row in 1972.

Thirty-five years later, detectives are taking a new look at Edwards, reopening four missing-child cases from nearly half a century ago that they believe are tied to him.

In the last six months, police have uncovered a letter Edwards wrote seemingly confessing to the killing of a Redondo Beach boy, and have used ground-penetrating radar to check for bodies buried at his former home in Sylmar. They plan to send corpse-sniffing dogs to a half-mile stretch of a Thousand Oaks freeway looking for the remains of another possible victim.

The case has plunged detectives from the LAPD, Pasadena and Torrance police, state Department of Justice and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department into the yellowing case files of another era. They are trying to track the movements of a serial killer who died more than 30 years ago, reopening the old wounds of families who lost loved ones.

Police say their interest was sparked by the efforts of Pasadena author Weston DeWalt, who was researching the 1957 disappearance of 8-year-old Tommy Bowman in the Arroyo Seco.

While DeWalt was searching old newspapers, a photograph caught his attention. The black-and-white image, circa 1970, showed Edwards in handcuffs as he was led into court.

"I looked at it and I thought: This face looks familiar, but why?" DeWalt recalled. "I studied it for about five minutes and was struck by the resemblance to a sketch I had seen in a Pasadena Police Department file."

That sketch was of a man seen following Tommy before the sandy-haired Redondo Beach second-grader vanished at the head of an Arroyo Seco trail.

DeWalt, the coauthor of a bestselling book about a climbing tragedy on Mt. Everest, came across Bowman's disappearance while researching hiking trails in the Arroyo Seco. He became fascinated by the case and eventually met with the boy's father and detectives, who gave him access to old police records.

"His work has allowed us to go back in time and open up a lot of windows," said Det. Vivian Flores of the LAPD's cold case unit. "There's a lot of families who do not know what happened to their children."

With DeWalt's help, investigators have the first solid evidence that directly connects Edwards to the disappearance of the Bowman boy.

After a 2006 interview with Edwards' widow and other relatives, a family member showed DeWalt a letter from Edwards to his wife, Mary, when he was on death row.

"I was going to add one more to the first statement" to the LAPD "and that was the Tommy Bowman boy that disappeared in Pasadena," he wrote. "But I felt I would really make a mess of that one so I left him out of it."

Last fall, the LAPD obtained a search warrant and confiscated the letter as well as photos and other items from his widow's home.

The break revived painful memories — but also offered new hope — for the boy's father, Eldon Bowman, now in his 80s.

Bowman recalled Friday how the family drove up from Redondo Beach to Pasadena for a hike and dinner that March day in 1957. After Tommy vanished, the father refused to go home, searching the canyon and hillside.

"We went up for an evening's dinner and we stayed for three weeks, searching round the clock," Bowman recalled Friday, adding that even today, "Tommy is never far from my mind."

For years afterward, Bowman, the father of two other children, said he would study the faces of boys Tommy's age, hoping to recognize his son.

But detectives say they are far from solving Tommy's case and starting to clear up three others:

• Bruce Kremen, who disappeared in July 1960 from a YMCA camp in the Angeles National Forest and was never found.

• Two 11-year-old Torrance girls, Karen Lynn Tompkins and Dorothy Gale Brown, who vanished within a year of each other. Tompkins was never seen again, but Brown's strangled body was found by recreational divers July 4, 1962, off Marina del Rey.

Detectives believe the three cases may be connected to Edwards because the children fit the profile of victims he confessed to killing.

Tompkins' sister, Lori Buck, 45, of Enid, Okla., was only 4 months old when her sister disappeared while walking home from school. But the disappearance shattered her family.

"I was sheltered and not allowed to do anything, especially when I turned 11," Buck said Friday. "My mom thinks Karen's gone. My dad, who died of cancer, always hoped she would be found."

Detectives have had a difficult time establishing the movements of Edwards, a construction worker who contracted with Caltrans and other agencies during the freeway building boom of the 1950s and '60s.

Building on DeWalt's research, police traced Edwards to at least 10 residences around Los Angeles, the South Bay and the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys.

Despite the new momentum, detectives say they face obstacles. For one, files kept on missing children during that era were destroyed after the children's 18th birthdays, meaning detectives had to build information about most of the cases from scratch.

Of the six killings Edwards confessed to, the first took place in 1953: Stella Darlene Nolan was an 8-year-old snatched from a refreshment stand in Norwalk where her mother worked. Within days after Edwards confessed, police found her remains near a freeway abutment in Downey.

Three years later, he killed his 11-year-old sister-in-law and her 13-year-old friend.

Edwards told police he stopped killing until the late 1960s, when he moved to Sylmar with his wife, son and daughter.

Detectives recently deployed cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar at his former Ralston Avenue home in hopes of finding possible victims.

In December 1968, he broke into a Sylmar home planning to kidnap a 13-year-old girl but ended up shooting her 16-year-old brother, Gary Rocha, according to Edwards' confession.

Also that month, 16-year-old Roger Dale Madison, a friend and classmate of Edwards' son, disappeared from Sylmar. Edwards told police he stabbed Madison repeatedly while they were in an orange grove before burying him under the 23 Freeway in Thousand Oaks, which was under construction.

Edwards was working on the project and said he used a bulldozer to bury the youth. Police plan to search the site soon with dogs and radar.

He also confessed to killing Donald Allen Todd, another neighborhood boy who was found shot and sexually abused in May 1969.

Edwards told police he decided to go to the Foothill station and confess after a mistake.

On March 6, 1970, Edwards and a 15-year-old accomplice kidnapped three sisters, ages 12 to 14, from their Sylmar home. Edwards forced the girls to write a note telling their parents that they were running away from home before taking them to a remote area near Newhall.

The girls were former neighbors of Edwards and recognized him. Two of them escaped and a third girl was rescued; none was assaulted. Fearing he would be identified, he decided to tell his story to police.

More than three decades later, investigators are trying to fill in large gaps to provide some measure of closure for families who spent decades wondering what happed to their children.

"We are depending on jogging people's memories," Flores said. "Edwards said he stopped. We don't believe him. The question is how many more victims are out there and who knows something about these cases."


Pilgrim - June 28, 2011 03:59 AM (GMT)

monkalup - January 29, 2012 04:09 PM (GMT)
The Forest of Disappearing Children
A look at one of the San Gabriel Mountains' more macabre tales.
By Reza Gostar

The San Gabriel Mountains are steeped in natural beauty, but within the area's scenic pine forests, towering granite peaks and rich mining history lies a darker past, often filled with mystery and death.

Growing up in the Los Angeles area, I heard many macabre tales about L.A.’s forest, involving dumped bodies, ill-fated hikers and disappearances. Usually the tales were told during youthful jaunts with friends in search of haunted places, such as the sites of some old car wreck or some long forgotten ruins. While most of the tales were pure fiction, told over a campfire or inside a dimly lit Volkswagen van to incite reactions from friends, some were based on actual events.

One tale I will explore this week was the story of “The Forest of Disappearing Children,” this urban legend/Internet myth centered on the unexplained disappearances of four children between the years of 1956 to 1960 and ended with an eerie warning to all those who enter the park with their young ones.

This creepy campfire tale was, I believe, sparked by a book entitled Mysterious California: Strange Places and Eerie Phenomena in the Golden State by Mike Miranacci, published in 1988, which discussed the very real disappearances of children from the area in a chapter appropriately entitled “The Forest of Disappearing Children.”

The vanishings discussed in the book began in August of 1956, when Donnie Baker and Brenda Howell--two young girls from Azusa, aged 13 and 11--rode their bikes into the forest and disappeared, according to a 1961 article in the Washington based Tri-City Herald. Crews of mountaineers, volunteers and law enforcement personnel at the time searched the area, but found no signs of foul play or any physical evidence indicating where the two girls were, according to a 1956 article in the Los Angeles Times.

Altadena Boy

A year later, in July of 1957, an 8-year-old boy, Thomas Bowman, was visiting family in Altadena and went hiking into the area with his father, Eldon Bowman. Little Tommy was hiking near the Arroyo Seco trail when he went ahead of the group and was never seen again. According to a 1957 article in the L.A. Times, his family scoured the rugged canyons and ridge tops in search of Tommy but found no trace of the boy.

Three years later, in 1960, an 8-year-old Granada Hills boy, Bruce Kremen, went on a hike with his YMCA group and was last seen by some companions a half mile from Buckhorn Flats. An extensive 11-day search by volunteers and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies yielded no results.

The mystery of what happened to Bruce and Tommy wasn’t solved until more than 50 years later, when Pasadena author Weston DeWalt stumbled across the case of Tommy’s disappearance while researching a hiking trail in the Arroyo Seco.

The author became fascinated with the case and began his extensive research to solve the mystery. Based on DeWalt’s research, which included interviews with Tommy Bowman’s father, police reopened their search for answers.

It was 1970, when Mack Ray Edwards confessed to the murders of six children, two of which included the young girls from Azusa, Baker and Howell. The other four children the Caltrans employee confessed to killing where Stella Darlene Nolan, 8; Gary Rochet, 16; Donald Allen Todd, 13; and Roger Madison, 16.

But Edwards was not charged for the murders of Madison or the two Azusa girls because their bodies were never found by authorities. According to the L.A. Times, the 51-year-old killer told police he had molested and murdered the six children over the span of 20 years throughout Los Angeles County.

Resembled Police Sketch

It wasn’t until 2007, while DeWalt was searching old newspapers, that he made the connection between Edwards and Tommy’s disappearance. Staring at a black-and-white image of Edwards in handcuffs, DeWalt "was struck by the resemblance to a sketch [he] had seen in a Pasadena Police Department file," he told the L.A. Times.

The rendering was of a man who was seen following Tommy before his family lost sight of him further down the trail. DeWalt--whose research included interviews with Edward’s widow and family--was shown a letter from the killer to his wife:

"I was going to add one more to the first statement [to the police] … and that was the Tommy Bowman boy that disappeared in Pasadena," he wrote, reported the L.A. Times. "But I felt I would really make a mess of that one, so I left him out of it."

Authorities have come to believe that Edwards was responsible for Kremen’s disappearance as well as that of Tommy’s and a slew of others in the Los Angeles area between the times he arrived in Los Angeles and his arrest.

The body of one of the serial killer’s victims was found underneath the Santa Ana Freeway. The heavy equipment operator allegedly buried other victims underneath the freeways he was paid to construct, including the Ventura Freeway. In 2008, authorities actually dug up a portion of freeway they believed hid more bodies but were unable to recover any more evidence.

Edwards was only convicted of three of the six murders and hung himself while on death row in 1971. Unfortunately, the parents of young Kremen went to their graves never to know what happened to their son.

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