Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Joey Moss

Real Name: Dubenion Joseph Moss
Nicknames: Joey
Date: November 30, 1990
Location: Orlando, Florida


Occupation: Student
Date of Birth: July 2, 1985
Height: 3'8"
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. They had met in 1983; she had just finished nursing school and he was a bricklayer, working in New York City. In 1984, she found out she was pregnant and 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 she 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 a son. Jerry named the boy "Dubenion Joseph Moss" after one of his favorite football stars, Elbert Dubenion. He gave him the nickname "Joey". According to Kathy, Jerry paid the rent. However, she alone was in charge of Joey's expenses. As a result, she had to start working the evening shift as a recovery room nurse.
During summer 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; he had not spoken to her in weeks. In late August 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. When he was in his last semester of medical school, they were married. Joey was the 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 Orlando in June 1990. By then, Kathy was pregnant again. Then, just two months later, she received a phone call from Jerry; he announced that he was moving there too.
The Alters feared that Jerry would continue to harass them. However, they also hoped that him moving there would be a positive thing for Joey. On October 4, 1990, he arrived there. He rented an apartment just two miles from the Alters' home. At first, everything went well between them. Then, on Friday, November 30, 1990, he picked up Joey at school for his regular weekend visit. Other parents and teachers noticed that his pickup truck was full of household items.
The following Sunday, Jerry did not bring Joey home; they had vanished. Five months later, a missing children's agency in Seattle received an anonymous phone call. Although the person claimed to be a friend of Jerry's, the agency suspected that it was him. 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 his room. Although there have been no leads since the Seattle phone call, they hope he will be soon back home.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 4, 1991 episode.

Joey (left) reunited with Kathy, Mike, and Elizabeth

Results: Solved. Jerry and Joey were found one week before the broadcast in Socorro, New Mexico. A viewer had seen a promotional announcement for it and recognized them. 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.