Charles Christopher Francis
Charles, approximately 1979; Age at the time of disappearance: -progression to Age at the time of disappearance: 40 (approximately 2012); James Crummel
Date reported missing : 04/09/1979
Missing location (approx) :
Santa Ana, California
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Male
DOB : 03/29/1972 (49)
Age at the time of disappearance: 7 years old
Height / Weight : 3'0, 45 pounds
Description, clothing, jewerly and more : A blue denim Levi's jacket with U.S. Army patches on the arms and pockets, a multicolored t-shirt and blue pants.
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos : Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Charles has a scar on his forehead. His nicknames are Chris, Chrissy and Christy.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Francis was last seen in Santa Ana, California on April 9, 1979. He had gone to work that day with his father, Dennis, who delivered water tanks to businesses and private homes.
After Dennis finished work, he left Charles at the corner of Chestnut Avenue and Lyon Street while he went to unload his truck. He didn't want his boss to find out he'd taken Charles along with him, because children were not allowed to ride in the trucks. Dennis told his son to walk to an address in the 300 block of south Lyon Street and wait to be picked up.
When Dennis went to the designated location ten minutes later, Charles was gone. His father searched the neighborhood for half an hour, then notified the police.
Charles's parents were fighting over custody of him at the time of his disappearance. His mother had legal custody, but he had lived with Dennis for most of his life. He and his father had traveled from Colorado to California three weeks beforehand, in order for Dennis to attend a custody hearing scheduled for April 26. Authorities looked into the possibility that one of the child's parents was hiding him, but found no evidence to support this theory.
Convicted child killer James Crummel is the prime suspect in Charles's disappearance, as well as in the 1995 disappearance of 9-year-oldÂ Jack Phillips from Big Bear Lake, California. He was a violent serial Gender : ual abuser a record of child molestation dating back to the 1960s. All but one of his known victims were boys in roughly the same Age at the time of disappearance: group as Charles and Jack.
A photo of Crummel is posted with this case summary. In August 1967, he abducted a fourteen-year-old Wisconsin boy, molested him and beat him almost to death. He served five years of a thirty-year sentence for the crime. In 1983, he was convicted of the February 1967 murder of an Arizona boy and sentenced to life in prison, but the conviction was overturned in 1987 because of ineffective counsel. He ended up pleading guilty to kidnapping in the Arizona case and was released later that year.
In 1997, Crummel was charged with the murder of a thirteen-year-old neighbor boy, James Wilfred "Jamey" Trotter. Jamey disappeared in 1979. In 1990, Crummel "discovered" the teen's skull, but it wasn't identified until 1996. After his murder arrest, investigators approached Crummel about Jack's case and he offered to confess to Jack's murder if prosecutors would not seek the death penalty for the Trotter murder.
The deal was turned down and Crummel was convicted of Jamey Trotter's murder in 2004 and sentenced to death. In June 2012, he committed suicide on death row by hanging himself with an electric cord. He didn't leave a note.
Charles is missing under suspicious circumstances and investigators believe he may have met with foul play. His case remains unsolved.
Other information and links : ncy
Santa Ana Police Department
September 2021 updates and sources
California Attorney General's Office
The Doe Network
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe. By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends. Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
The Orange County Register
Behind the Badge OC