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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)


          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.


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