Jeff and John in 1971jpg

Jeff Fisher and John Novotny in 1971

Real Name: John Novotny
Case: Lost Friend
Location: Elkhart, Indiana
Date: 1971


Details: Jeff Fisher was the son of divorced parents. After the divorce in 1969, his father left them, leaving his mother, Linda, to raise him and his sister alone. He would often be upset that his father was not there for him.
Linda felt bad that Jeff did not have a father figure in his life. In 1971, she took him to Big Brothers of America, an organization that pairs young boys with adult male role models. They had recently opened a chapter in Jeff's hometown of Elkhart, Indiana. He soon met "big brother" John Novotny, a local salesman and father of a two-year-old daughter. John soon became the positive male role model that Jeff needed. Over the next ten months, they spent many weekends together. He took him camping and taught him how to set up a tent, make a fire, and fish. Linda noted that Jeff had an increase in his self-confidence as a result of his time with John.
A year and a half after they met, John's company moved to a different state, however, he and Jeff still stayed in touch. In September 1972, Jeff had open-heart surgery to correct a congenital defect. Although the experience was scary for him, he was comforted by John, who also had heart problems. After that, they sadly lost touch. Jeff believes that John set him on the right track in life. He is now twenty-six, a married construction worker with a child of his own; he wants to meet John again and thank him for everything he did.

John and Jeff 1991

John and Jeff reunited

Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 23, 1991 episode.
Results: Solved. Several of John's friends and relatives called him and told him he was on TV and he got in contact with Jeff once more. A few weeks later, Jeff and Linda traveled to John's house in Tacoma, Washington, where they were reunited. John was happy to learn of the difference that he made in Jeff's life. They remained in contact until John's passing in 2014.