On Sunday, September 5, 1982, in the suburb of West Des Moines, Johnny Gosch left home for his paper route before dawn. Though it was customary for Johnny to wake his father to help with the route, the boy took only the family's dachshund, Gretchen, with him that morning. Other paper carriers for The Des Moines Register would later report having seen Gosch at the paper drop, picking up his newspapers. It was the last sighting of Johnny Gosch that can be corroborated by multiple witnesses.
However another paper carrier named Mike reported that he and Gosch were approached by a stocky man in a blue two-toned Ford Fairlane with Iowa plates who asked them for directions. Mike later stated that Gosch told him the man had made him uncomfortable. As Gosch headed home, Mike noticed another man following Gosch.
Gosch was last seen wearing blue rubber thong sandals, warm up exercise pants, and a white sweatshirt reading "Kim's Academy".
John and Noreen Gosch, Johnny's parents, began receiving phone calls from customers along their son's route, complaining of undelivered papers. John Gosch performed a cursory search of the neighborhood around 6 AM. He immediately found Johnny's wagon full of newspapers, two blocks from their home.
The Gosches immediately contacted the West Des Moines police department, and reported Johnny's disappearance. Noreen Gosch, in her public statements and her book Why Johnny Can't Come Home, has been critical of what she perceives as a slow reaction time from authorities, and of the then-current policy that Gosch could not be classified as a missing person for 72 hours. By her estimation, the police did not arrive to take her report for a full 45 minutes.
Police came to believe that Gosch was kidnapped, but they did not establish a motive. They turned up little evidence and arrested no suspects in connection with the case.
Several private investigators assisted the Gosches over the years. Among them are Jim Rothstein, a retired New York City police detective; and Ted Gunderson, a retired chief of the Los Angeles FBI branch.
In 1984, Gosch's photograph appeared alongside that of Juanita Rafaela Estavez on milk cartons across America; they were the second abducted children to have their plights publicized in this way. The first was Etan Patz.
Johnny Gosch quickly became a poster boy for missing children across the nation. Gosch's disappearance became something of a cautionary tale to midwestern youth, Johnny Gosch jokes swept the nation's schoolyards, and dollar bills began turning up with "Help me! - Johnny Gosch" scrawled across them.
The case snowballed into a national interest as Noreen Gosch became increasingly vocal about the inadequacy of law enforcement investigation of missing children cases. She established the Johnny Gosch foundation in 1982, through which she visited schools and gave seminars about the modus operandi of sexual predators. She lobbied for "The Johnny Gosch Bill", state legislation which would mandate an immediate police response to reports of missing children. The bill became law in Iowa in 1984, and similar or identical laws were later passed in Missouri and seven other states.
In August 1984, Ms. Gosch testified in Senate hearings on organized crime, speaking about "organized pedophilia" and its alleged role in her son's abduction. She began receiving death threats. Ms. Gosch also testified before the U.S. Department of Justice, which provided 10 million dollars to establish the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Ms. Gosch was invited to the White House by President Ronald Reagan for the dedication ceremony.
This was taken from Wikipedia. You can read the whole entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Gosch