James Woodford Johnson
Johnson, approximately 1985
Date reported missing : 08/26/1985
Missing location (approx) :
Fort Pierce, Florida
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Male
Age at the time of disappearance: 61 years old
Height / Weight : 6'0, 190 pounds
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos : Caucasian male. Blond hair, blue eyes. Johnson's nickname is Buddy. The tip of his right middle finger is missing.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Johnson and a friend, Patrick DiFrancesco, disappeared from Fort Pierce, Florida on August 26, 1985. DiFrancesco had a student pilot's license and reportedly left in a plane with Johnson, a pilot, for an overnight trip.
They were supposedly going to pick up a shipment of marijuana in the Bahamas or at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Neither man has ever been heard from again and no wreckAge at the time of disappearance: from their plane was ever discovered. There was a rumor that DiFrancesco had been found in jail in Jamaica after his disappearance, but this was never verified.
The plane DiFrancesco and Johnson supposedly flew away in was owned by Howard "Jay" Crouch Jr., who was then 31 years old and had used a wheelchair for mobility since he was paralyzed in a 1970 accident. DiFrancesco was a concrete worker who supplemented his income by flying cocaine for Crouch into St. Lucie County.
Crouch was never charged in Johnson and DiFrancesco's cases, but in 1988 he pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking charges in 1988 and sentenced to five years in prison. The previous year, Crouch and two other men, William Andrew Biggers and James Leonard King, had arranged to have an airplane drop 150 kilograms of cocaine at an airstrip in western St. Lucie County. This was same airstrip Johnson and DiFrancesco took off from on the day of their disappearance.
DiFrancesco's brother believes he may have never left Fort Pierce and that he and Johnson may have been murdered and buried in the local area. Both men's cases remain unsolved.
Other information and links : ncy
St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office
September 2021 updates and sources
The CUE Center for Missing Persons
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The Fort Pierce Tribune
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 Palm Beach Post
October 12, 2004. June 20, 2019; Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : updated.