DEL HAVEN, N.J. (CBS) — A local family is still waiting for answers about what happened to an 11-year-old boy from Del Haven. Three decades ago Thursday, Mark Heimbaugh vanished.
Late in the evening, Nov. 25, 1991. The search for Mark Heimbaugh was only a few hours old.
The Del Haven, Cape May County, 11-year-old boy hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
Yet another holiday drifts by.
Thirty years ago, investigators were trying to unravel where Mark could be. CBS3’s Joe Holden spoke with Mark’s mom, Maureen Heimbaugh, around the time of his birthday.
“He was taken but I don’t know why. There’s a lot of theories but I don’t know why. That’s why I’m hoping somebody will come forward with that,” she said.
That night, Mark was watching the commotion surrounding a brush fire burning close to his home. A detour brought a line of traffic through the neighborhood that’s otherwise off the beaten path.
Early on, a shoe located along the Delaware Bay — a stone’s throw from the Heimbaugh residence — was believed to be Mark’s. But Maureen thought it was odd and said it was placed there to distract investigators.
“I think the fact that it’s 30 years later and we are still asking some of the most basic questions like was that really Mark’s sneaker on the beach? How can we not know an answer to that something so simple as that 30 years later?” said Ana Garcia, host of True Crime Daily The Podcast.
Garcia was a South Jersey reporter when Mark disappeared. She was filing reports on scene that night.
“I don’t think people just disappear, especially 11-year-old boys. I just don’t believe that something very simple happened here. I think something nefarious happened, I think something horrible happened to Mark. I believe he was abducted and at the time everybody thought it was just a little boy who wandered off and that’s was how it was treated in the initial investigation. And precious hours and days were actually lost in this investigation,” Garcia said.
Garcia has recently used her contacts in the field of forensic science and investigations to reexamine pieces of degraded DNA in efforts to find out what happened to Mark.
In all the years since that cold night close to the Delaware Bay, there are those who have never forgotten Mark.
And yet, sadly, Maureen feels she may never see her Mark again.
“I know he’s probably gone because of the time, but you can’t give up,” she said.
If you have information on the disappearance of Mark Heimbaugh, call Cape May County prosecutors at 609-465-1135.