Runaway Train: Duane Fochtman

          This month got away from me, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to finish out this series – it just means you’re going to get the last six posts today and tomorrow.
          Our next Runaway Train case brings us to Oregon – and this post will unfortunately be brief. There is very little verified information available regarding Duane’s disappearance. Hell, there’s hardly even any speculation online. So let’s do our best here to take a look at this case – what happened to Duane Fochtman? Let’s explore.

Who Is Duane?

          I sadly do not have any information regarding Duane’s personality. I wasn’t able to find out who he was as a person before his disappearance. If you’re reading this and you knew Duane, please feel free to comment or reach out via email – I would love to preserve his personality here. He deserves to be more than his disappearance.
          Duane Edward Fochtman was born on July 22, 1971. He stood at around 5’5 and weighed around 130 lbs at the time of his disappearance. He has brown hair and brown eyes. One of the fingers on his right hand is disabled, and he has a healed fracture in his right ankle. At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing a black jacket and possibly some sort of stud earring (that’s all the description I found – I know nothing about style, metal, color, etc.).

(One of the last known photos of Duane.
via NamUs)

The Disappearance

          Duane was last seen near Highway 101 in Lincoln City, Oregon on July 22, 1986. That is all the verified information available regarding Duane’s disappearance.

The Investigation

          Unfortunately, it seems that there was no investigation. We know that Duane was considered a runaway right off the bat. According to an unverified account on Websleuths (which I normally don’t include, because it tends to be rife with unfounded speculation), Duane was seen getting into a red Corvette on highway 101, leading to the runaway conclusion. And that’s…really it.

(An age progression of Duane to age 47.
via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Theories

          So for the theories here, there are really only two – Duane left of his own volition or he didn’t. Police obviously believed that he left of his own accord, ruling him as a runaway. This was due to the fact that he was allegedly seen getting into that Corvette, and the fact that most teenagers were just ruled runaways. However, according to that Websleuths user, he left behind his money, never cashed his last paycheck, and left all of his belongings at home, suggesting that he didn’t intend to stay away indefinitely. It seems most likely to me that Duane got into that car willingly for whatever reason, not intending to stay gone – and then something happened. What, I don’t know.

Investigating Agencies

          Duane has now been missing for over 35 years. If you or anyone you know has any information, no matter how small it seems, regarding his disappearance or whereabouts, please contact the proper authorities. Duane’s case has never gotten much attention, but he and his family deserve answers as much as anyone. The Lincoln City Police Department can be reached at 541-994-3636 in reference to case number 862183. Duane’s NamUs case number is 6072 and his NCIC case number is M-207470391.

Sources

7 thoughts on “Runaway Train: Duane Fochtman”

  1. There may be a mix up here – you say he was born in 1986, and was last seen in 1986. His bday is April 19, 1971 according to other sources.

  2. I knew Duane in 7th grade at Lebanon Middle School. We used to play D&D with a group of friends. His dad didn’t like it (there was an uproar amongst some parents at the time) and said he had to get rid of all of his D&D books. All of our friends one of those books so badly – they were expensive. He gave them to me and said that I was the only one that wasn’t bothering him for them. I moved to the east coast that summer and years later I found out that he went missing. I just found out tonight that he was mentioned in the soul asylum video. Thanks for this effort to keep memories of him alive.

    1. Hi there! Thank you so much for adding your comment!! Duane was my third cousin and I actually first found out about his existence and his disappearance when I was a kid watching the Soul Asylum music video and asking my mom about him and her recalling hearing about a cousin that had gone missing. I was born in 1988 so unfortunately I never knew him, but I have been interested in his case for years. I’ve uploaded my DNA to GEDMatch and other databases so I can only hope that one day my information can help locate him or his remains.

      His father passed away in 2012 and his mother tragically died in 1974 when Duane was only around three years old. His dad had been in and out of trouble with the law for small offenses, and they don’t seem to have had much money. I’m sure between the popular knee-jerk reaction of missing teens being runaways and his dad’s reputation with law enforcement that there wasn’t much time or attention paid to his case. I even searched Newspapers.com for any mention of his disappearance and could find nothing, which just makes it sadder to me because it makes it seem like he didn’t matter.

      I’m also grateful to you CJ Lynch for creating this space!

      – Katie

      1. Hi Katie! Thank you showing us more of Duane’s life. I’m happy to make space for these cases to be remembered – my goal is for these people to be remembered as individuals and not just what happened to them, so comments like these make my heart swell. And thank you for uploading your DNA to GEDmatch! I’m planning a post on that soon.

    2. Woah. I just found out about this from Per. Our D&D group in the 80’s was straight out of Stranger Things (flashback). I remember Duane from those days and just that his dad _hated_ D&D due to the whole ‘devil worship’ bs that Tipper Gore and others were slinging on it (if memory serves). If anything, having a constructive time with good friends using your imagination… #win.

      Duane, wish I remembered more about ya bud. Ps. Per, wondered where you went until we reconnected on social these last few years!

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