Real Name: Michael L. Rosenblum
Location: Baldwin, Pennsylvania
Date: February 14, 1980
Date of Birth: April 12, 1954
Weight: 135 pounds
Marital Status: Dating
Characteristics: Caucasian male.
Details: Twenty-five-year-old Michael Rosenblum began experimenting with drugs while in high school. He became a heavy user of a prescription pain killer that altered his moods and made him erratic and irritable. Despite his drug problems, he retained the strong support and love of his family. However, during the early '80s, the form of discipline known as "tough love" became widely used. After several attempts to get him help, his parents finally banished him from the family home in Baldwin, Pennsylvania, on February 13, 1980. His mother Barbara did this after she found a bottle of painkillers in his room. He left that night in a car driven by his girlfriend Lisa. Barbara told him not to come back until he was off drugs.
The next day, Michael woke up with a severe drug hangover, and Lisa took him to the hospital. However, he refused to be treated. They left the hospital and went to a nearby gas station in West Homestead. According to Lisa, he became increasingly agitated. He then told her that he needed to borrow her car and left her stranded at the station. He also told her to go to his parents' home and that he'd meet her there in two hours. Michael did not arrive at his parents' home and was never seen by his family or friends again.
His parents waited all night for a phone call from him. However, it never came. Barbara did not believe he would vanish voluntarily because he left behind money in his bank accounts and clothes in his closet. His family filed a missing person's report the next day. The police soon began searching for Lisa's missing car, as they felt it would lead them to Michael. Two weeks later, the car had still not been found, so Michael's father Maurice decided to start his own investigation into his son's disappearance. He offered a reward for information, posted fliers, and traveled as far as California to talk with friends of his son. He hoped to find Michael and get him off of drugs for good; sadly, that never happened.
Three months later on May 21, the Baldwin Borough Police Department notified Lisa that her car had been impounded. According to official records, it had been in a lot since the day Michael vanished. Maurice could not understand how the police department had the car in its possession for three months and did not realize it. A Baldwin police dispatcher was contacted by the Pittsburgh police when they searched for the car, but no one can say whether the information was officially circulated.
Maurice learned that the car had been found on River Road, which connected Baldwin to the South Side of Pittsburgh. The car was located by Baldwin police officers just two hours after Michael was last seen. Two of the tires were flat, the keys were gone, and the engine was cooled. However, there was no trace of Michael. Fifteen minutes later, the car was towed to the Baldwin Borough car pound, where it remained for three months. Pittsburgh investigators believed that the delay seriously jeopardized their investigation.
The Pittsburgh Police Department went to Baldwin to determine why there was a delay. Baldwin's police department claimed that they mailed Lisa a letter about the car a day after Michael vanished. However, Lisa claimed she never received it. When they produced a copy of the "letter" Lisa still claimed that she never received it. Maurice believed that the letter was just one part of an elaborate cover-up by the Baldwin police regarding his son's disappearance.
Maurice claimed that following Michael's disappearance, he received two anonymous phone calls. The first caller, who called before the car was re-discovered, claimed that Michael had been arrested by the Baldwin police; Maurice hung up, assuming it was a prank. However, when the second caller, who called after the car was found, also said that Michael had been arrested by the Baldwin, he became suspicious. For six months, Maurice searched for Michael. However, his offer of a big reward received no solid leads. The only concrete clues were the discovery of Lisa's car and the two mysterious phone calls.
On July 15, another bizarre twist in the case occurred when the Baldwin Police Department put out an arrest warrant for Michael, even though he was listed as a missing person. The arrest warrant was for an armed robbery that occurred in April, two months after he vanished. Pittsburgh investigator Stephen Tercsak interviewed the victims of the robbery and they gave him a description of the robber that did not match that of the composite issued by police. In fact, the witnesses had only seen the forehead and chin of the robber who was wearing sunglasses. However, the composite showed the entire face without sunglasses.
Tercsak believes that the police used the original photo of Michael from his missing person flyers to make the composite. A week later, the warrant was dismissed. Based on the information uncovered about the car, along with the phone calls, Maurice believed that the Baldwin police were involved in a cover-up regarding his son's disappearance. He took his suspicions to the Attorney General, who investigated, but cleared the Baldwin police of any wrongdoing.
In 1986, Maurice received an anonymous letter that told him to speak with Jean Haslett, who had worked as a dispatcher for the Baldwin police. The letter led to accusations that the Baldwin police department, led by chief Aldo Gaburri, mishandled Michael's case. Jean said that two months after Michael disappeared, Gaburri had ordered his clerk Fred Cappelli to type up the letter that Lisa was supposed to have received two months earlier. He was also ordered to backdate it to February 15, the time that she should have received it.
Fred corroborated Jean's story, saying that he typed the letter on May 20. After typing it, Gaburri told him to sign the paper with signature of Chester Lombardi, the senior officer who found Lisa's car. He also told him to put the letter away without sending it. According to Fred, Gaburri asked Lombardi to sign the letter but he refused because it was backdated. Unfortunately, Lombardi passed away in 1982, so he could not be questioned about the allegations.
After hearing this information, Maurice wrote a letter to the Baldwin Borough Council, stating that they should investigate what he believed was a cover-up. In October 1987, a hearing was held by the council, and Chief Gaburri was dismissed as a result. Gaburri appealed the dismissal; he was later re-instated by the council. Cappelli claimed that Gaburri had friends in the council, which led him to being re-instated. The council denies this.
Although Maurice Rosenblum believes that Michael is deceased, he still does not have definitive answers as to what happened to his son. However, in April of 1988, at the direction of a psychic, thirty volunteers searched a Baldwin hillside for Michael's remains. The search turned up a small piece of bone, some patches of corduroy, and a piece of shoe sole. These pieces of clothing were consistent with the clothes that Michael was wearing when he vanished. The objects were discovered above River Road, overlooking the spot where Lisa's car was found. No other trace of Michael has been found.
Suspects: Michael's family believes that the Baldwin Borough Police were involved in a cover-up regarding his disappearance. Aldo Gaburri, Warren Cooley (the officer who created the arrest warrant for Michael) and Donald Misencik, along with other police officers are suspected of a cover-up in the case.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the January 11, 1989 episode.
Results: Unresolved. After the broadcast, a viewer called the telecenter; he claimed that he had been in jail with Michael on the day of his disappearance. He also claimed that Michael appeared to have been beaten and shot in the leg. It is not known if the caller was ever located or if the information was ever verified.
In January of 1990, Michael's family had him declared legally dead. In April of 1992, three miles from where Lisa's car was discovered, a skull fragment was found. In June, a coroner determined that it belonged to Michael based on X-rays of his head. Police are now investigating the case as a "possible homicide", although the cause of death could not be determined.
After a series of investigations into Cooley and Misencik by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigations, no charges were ever filed. The officers later filed a libel suit against a magazine which printed an article about Michael's disappearance. They claimed that the article unfairly accused them of being involved in the disappearance. The suit was settled in March of 1990 with the officers receiving $50,000.
Sadly, Michael's father, Maurice Rosenblum, died in 2008. Police Chief Aldo Gaburri passed away in 1997 at the age of 76.
- Michael Rosenblum at Unsolved.com
- Shadyside man vows to find missing son
- Man's relentless search for son leads to review of investigation
- Baldwin informs ex-chief of charge
- Chief's ouster adds few clues to disappearance case
- The Search for Michael Rosenblum (Pages 1-3) (4-5) (6-7) (8-9)
- 2 Baldwin officers file suit over story
- TV show's report clouds disappearance
- Man missing for 10 years declared dead
- Pittsburgh Magazine Suit Settled
- Skull fragment identified as that of Baldwin man missing since '80
- Skull belonged to missing man
- Skull fragment proves man's death
- Reddit Discussion of Michael Rosenblum
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Michael Rosenblum
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Michael Rosenblum (with articles)
- Obituary for Maurice Rosenblum
- Aldo Gaburri at Find a Grave