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Recently, I found  this interesting little tidbit about the College I work for.

Back in 1983, an OCC professor went missing while leaving campus.   They never found the body.  One of the reader comments suggest a bear mauling.  I’m not quite so sure, though.  That year saw the arrest of Richard Bieganwald in nearby Asbury Park, who the press later dubbed “The Thrill Killer.”  Bieganwald likely didn’t have any connection at all.

Here’s the openning paragraph or two:

It was a Sunday morning when John E. Warren decided to take a walk on the OCC campus for some exercise. He lived about a mile away in the Squire Village section of Toms River. He cut through the woods separating his home from the college. Estelle, his wife of 47 years, at the time, would later tell an Asbury Park Press reporter, “I said to him why go through the woods? Why don’t you take the car? If it gets too hot, you can drive back.”

Warren was 69 years old, and his wife never saw him again. He was declared an unsolved mystery of Toms River and has been ever since.

On Aug. 8, 1983, at 8:45 a.m., Warren, a two-month retired OCC associate professor of engineering, a job he had held for 16 years, took his usual four-mile walk. Mrs. Warren would later tell the APP Warren was “very athletic” until he was diagnosed with arthritis two years prior to his disappearance. He was a jogger for more than 20 years but had to limit himself to just walking as his exercise because of his arthritis in his hip, she told the APP.

The article concludes by pointing out that this is still a cold case.  At the beginning of this decade, the case was briefly reopened, but without any tangible results:

According to Lt. Micheal Dorick, supervisor of the Detective Bureau of the Dover Township Police, there were “no leads to follow up on.” Dorick decided to re-investigate the case in the summer of 2001, when he became a supervisor. Dorick said he went to re-interview some family members about Warren’s case, but “some family members are not cooperating.” While Dorick did not say those family members knew more about the missing Warren, he did say “anything’s possible in a case like this. You just never know. I just think it’s very weird how he went for a walk and disappeared, and no body was found.”



  1. I was enrolled at OCC from 71-74. I was on the tennis team and played tennis with Prof. Warren occasionally. I remember him as a very friendy man who always seemed to have an upbeat outlook. I moved to Texas in 77, but my mother, who still lived in Toms River in 83, told me about his disappearance. He was a nice man.

  2. I was a student of Prof. Warren back in 83. He taught in the Electronic Engineering Tech. department. The rumor at the time was he was kidnapped by a foreign gov’t. You see the prof. was a brilliant engineer and was involved with missile guidance systems earlier in his career. Sounds far fetched but to just vanish off the face of the earth just doesn’t make much sense.

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