Real Name: Dubenion Joseph Moss
Nicknames: Duby, Joey
Date: November 30, 1990
Location: Orlando, Florida
Date of Birth: July 2, 1985
Weight: 45 pounds
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown eyes, brown hair. Freckled birth mark on his left eyebrow.
Details: Seven-year-old Joey Moss is the son of Kathy Alter and Jerry Moss. The couple had met in 1983; she had just finished nursing school and he was a bricklayer, working in New York City. In 1984, Kathy found out she was pregnant and she moved in with Jerry. However, he did not want to get married. In fact, he told her that he wanted as much freedom as possible. This caused problems with their relationship, as Kathy never knew what time he would be home. He would get angry at her if she didn't have dinner ready for him, even if he came home hours late.
On July 2, 1985, Kathy gave birth to their son. Jerry named the boy "Dubenion Joseph Moss" after one of his favorite football stars, Elbert Dubenion. He gave the boy the nickname "Duby". According to Kathy, Jerry paid the rent. However, she alone was in charge of the baby's expenses. As a result, she had to start working the evening shift as a recovery room nurse.
During the summer of 1987, Kathy took on the added burden of painting and remodeling the kitchen. One day, she came home and was shocked to find that Jerry had written "Get more baby bottles" in red crayon on the kitchen wall. She had had enough; Jerry had not spoken to her in weeks. In late August of 1987, she took Joey and left. She found an apartment twelve miles away in Verplanck, New York. A few months later, she began dating Mike Alter, a medical student. When he was in his last semester of medical school, the two married. Joey was their ring bearer.
Mike was later accepted into a residency program in Orlando, Florida. Jerry fought to obtain a restraining order, barring Kathy from taking Joey out of New York. His court bid was unsuccessful. According to the Alters, he began harassing them in the middle of the night with phone calls. Despite this, they still moved to Florida in June of 1990. By now, Kathy was pregnant again. Then, just two months after the move, she received a phone call from Jerry; he announced that he was relocating to Florida.
The Alters feared that Jerry would continue to harass them. However, they also hoped that Jerry moving there would be a positive thing for Joey. On October 4, 1990, he arrived in Orlando. He rented an apartment just two miles from the Alters' home. At first, everything went well between Jerry and the Alters. Then, on Friday, November 30, 1990, Jerry picked up Joey after school for his regular weekend visit. Other parents and teachers noticed that his pickup was full of household items.
The following Sunday, Jerry did not bring Joey home; the two had vanished. Five months after they vanished, a missing children's agency in Seattle received an anonymous phone call. Although the person claimed to be a friend of Jerry, the agency suspected that the caller was Jerry himself. He said that Joey was safe and that "Jerry" was sorry that "things happened this way". When the agency employee asked for more information, the caller became belligerent and then hung up. It is not known where the call was made.
At Christmas and on Joey's sixth birthday, the Alters wrapped presents and placed them in Joey's room. Although there have been no leads since the Seattle phone call, they hope Joey will be soon back home.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 4, 1991 episode.
Results: Solved. Jerry and Joey Moss were found one week before the story aired in Socorro, New Mexico. A viewer had seen a promotional announcement for Unsolved Mysteries and recognized the father and son. They had been living under the names Jerry and Mark Staggert. Joey was soon reunited with Kathy and Mike at an airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He also met his half-sister, Elizabeth, for the first time.
Today, Joey is a doctor living in Palmer, Alaska.