Real Name: Curtis Pishon
Location: Seabrook, New Hampshire
Date: July 5, 2000
Occupation: Security guard, former police officer
Date of Birth: July 11, 1959
Weight: 165 lbs
Marital Status: Unrevealed
Characteristics: Caucasian male with brown eyes, graying brown hair, and possibly a mustache. Smoker and heavy drinker. Almost 41 years old at the time of his disappearance. Due to multiple sclerosis, Curtis had difficulty walking and was often in pain. He was wearing a security guard uniform consisting of a light blue shirt and new boots at the time of his disappearance.
Details: Curtis Pishon was an officer for ten years for the Concord New Hampshire police department before being stricken with multiple sclerosis. The disease limited his mobility, eventually to the point of interfering with his ability to handle his gun. He was forced to resign as a police officer, an event that relatives say devastated him. Curtis became depressed and withdrawn, moving from job to job before becoming a security guard for an automobile part factory, Venture Corporation (now defunct). This job had less physical requirements than a police officer's and didn't require him to carry a gun.
On July 4 at around 9:30 PM, he arrived at work. According to employees at the time of his arrival and factory supervisors who met with him at midnight, he was behaving normally and was in good spirits. At 1:42 AM, firefighters responded to a phone call by him. According to fire department deputy chief Jeff Brown, his car had caught fire and he had attempted to put it out himself with a fire extinguisher before calling, a statement backed up by evidence of attempts to subdue the fire. Firefighters who talked with him found him to be very accepting of and not upset by the car fire, despite his car containing a lot of his belongings, including some of his most treasured possessions.
It is unknown how the fire in his car started, though investigators believe he may have started it accidentally or that the fire was started by criminals in order to provide a distraction while they committed a crime. It should be noted that the car contained no signs of arson, accelerants, or accidental ignition. One investigator noted that in some cases, security guards and police officers have purposefully set and put out fires in order to gain recognition. However, the investigator and Curtis's family did not believe that he would have done that. An hour and a half after the fire was extinguished, around 3:20 AM, the security supervisor for the factory talked with Curtis, who said he felt fine about the fire. The supervisor left him at 3:25 AM. At 3:45 AM, a worker arriving at the factory noticed that he wasn't at his station. Around this time, a night-shift foreman noticed two vehicles speeding away from the factory.
After his disappearance was noticed, both the factory and the surrounding area were searched extensively but fruitlessly. The first theory of his disappearance is that he committed suicide. Since resigning from law enforcement, he had had a history of depression and alcohol abuse. The loss of his car and everything in it may have caused him to become suicidal. Alternatively, he may have been suicidal beforehand and purposefully caused the fire as a way of "detaching" himself from the world before taking his life.
Though his father doubts the suicide theory based on his son's cheerful mood at the time of his disappearance and the days preceding it, an unusually elevated mood is actually a common symptom in sufferers of depression who have made plans to commit suicide. However, neither his body nor instrument of suicide have been found. However, just days before his disappearance on July 3, Curtis had bought a handgun back from his father, to whom he had originally sold it when he was low on cash. Initially this handgun could not found. It was later discovered by his relatives as they were clearing out his apartment, still wrapped in the brown paper bag his father had sold it to him in.
Another theory is that Curtis, after losing his car and most of his possessions, decided to simply walk away from his old life. However, due to his deteriorated physical health and lack of transportation (no taxi cab or shipping trucks left the factory during his shift), it's unlikely he could have gotten far from the factory. Additionally, many of his belongings were left at his workplace, including his cigarettes, packed lunch, glasses, and contact lens solution. Since his disappearance, there has been no activity on his Social Security number, bank accounts, credit cards, or pension checks.
A third theory is that he was abducted and probably murdered, most likely due to witnessing a crime taking place that night. It's reported that a door and two vending machines in the factory were damaged during his shift that night and that, at the time a factory employee first noticed him missing, another employee saw two cars speeding out of the factory.
Suspects: None known
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 16, 2001 episode.
Results: Unsolved. In 2008, the Pishon family had Curtis declared legally dead. Robert E. April, a coworker of Curtis's, has been a person of interest in this case since 2005. In October 2008, he was arrested for threatening to kill the brother of a man who owed him money. In the threat, he had allegedly said he had killed and buried Curtis. He has not been charged with Curtis's disappearance. Despite being named numerous times in local media as a suspect, April has never given an interview or made any public statements in an attempt to clear his name. He refused a polygraph test when he was officially questioned by police. April has been in trouble with the law since, but in each case, he is either acquitted or the charges are dropped.
Recently, investigators have stated that information gathered over time has helped them piece together what happened, including the identity of the person they believe murdered Curtis, but a lack of witness testimony has kept the case from closing. They now believe some of the workers that night, including April, were breaking into a vending machine when Curtis came upon them. They also believe the fire was set as a diversion.
A $10,000 reward is being offered by his family for information leading to the return of his remains.
- Curtis Pishon on Unsolved.com
- Curtis Pishon on The Charley Project
- Find Curt Website
- Seabrook Cold Case Still Haunts Family
- Burglary, threatening charges dropped after witness doesn’t show
- Curtis Pishon’s family seeks answers 15 years after death
- 15 years after man's disappearance, family seeks answers
- Project Jason Discussion Forum on Curtis's Case