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[00:00:00]

Hi, guys, I'm Katie Lowes, actress, mom and host of the parenting podcast. Chrin, a show that helps women navigate the colossal changes that come with motherhood. You'll hear from resilient mammas knowledgeable experts and me asking a whole lot of questions. It's real talk that offers real perspective on what it's really like to be a parent. New episodes publish every other Thursday. Listen to Katie's crib on I heart radio app or on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:00:37]

The biggest airport in Alaska is named after a man who died in a plane crash. A man whose wife also died in a different plane crash at the airport.

[00:00:48]

I'm talking about Senator Ted Stevens, who survived the 1978 crash that killed his first wife, only to die. Thirty two years later, in another crash, Stevens served in the U.S. Senate for 40 years until 2008, when, in the wake of a controversial corruption trial, he narrowly lost the seat to then Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Begich, his father, of course, Congressman Nick Begich disappeared on a small plane in Alaska in 1972. So many politicians have died in plane crashes and there are so many random coincidences tied to those crashes to take the tiny town of Eveleth, Minnesota, for example.

[00:01:27]

It's both where Nick Baggage is from and the spot where in 2002, U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash right before the midterms. Or take Chet Morrison, the former mayor of New Orleans. Morrison, a close friend of Congressman Hale Boggs, died in a plane crash in Mexico in 1964. At the same time, Boggs was serving on the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Morrison actually died six months to the day after Kennedy.

[00:01:57]

Heck, even Kennedy son died in a plane crash in 1999. You see what I'm doing? I'm dropping a load of conspiratorial bricks into your brain. If you want, you can use them to build up some crazy narrative of intrigue and murder. Or you can rely on common sense because people who fly often on small planes are more likely to die on small planes. There's no grand conspiracy here, no Illuminati plot cooked up in the basement of a Little Caesars.

[00:02:29]

Now, that doesn't mean conspiracies never exist. They do. Plots are hatched and people are killed all the time. And let me ask you the claims. We're investigating the claims made by Jerry Peisley, a mobster, a murderer, a bomber that he and Peggy Begich played a role in the disappearance of Congressman Nick baggage. Are they really so crazy that they didn't warrant a legitimate investigation? I don't think so, because when you boil it down, when you remove the words mobster and congressman and bomb, what do you get?

[00:03:04]

You get a claim made by a man that he played a role in the death of his second wife's first husband and that she did, too. Typically, that's the type of claim investigators and reporters take very seriously, typically. But in this case, they didn't. The FBI never even interviewed Peggy, not once. And the Alaska news media never reported this story. It's not hyperbolic then. In my opinion, to say that if I didn't ask hard questions, nobody would.

[00:03:34]

That's why I had to go back to Alaska. There's only so much you can do from afar.

[00:03:39]

I needed to be on the ground, so I was grateful to touch down. On October 9th, twenty nineteen at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the airport named for a man who died in a plane crash.

[00:03:57]

From my heart media, this is missing in Alaska, the story of two congressmen who vanished in 1972 and my quest to figure out what happened to them. I'm your host, John Walsh. I want to talk for a minute about bodies, specifically the importance of recovering physical remains in the wake of tragedies. No matter how someone dies, when you lose a loved one, if you lack a body, you're denied some sense of finality. This is something Hale Boggs, his daughter, Cokie Roberts, discussed multiple times before she died, how she knew her dad was dead.

[00:04:40]

But without a body, she still imagined him just walking in the door one day. On October eight, twenty, nineteen. Only 24 hours before I landed in Anchorage. A man named Brian Stephen Smith was arrested at the airport for murder. But it wasn't a body that led to his arrest. It was a memory card on the card and SD card, which someone found on a downtown street were photos and videos of a man strangling a woman to death and laughing while he did it.

[00:05:10]

Four days later, while in Anchorage, I awoke to another violent video. This one streamed to the world from my city, New Orleans, where a hotel under construction partially collapsed into the street, spewing up a dust cloud reminiscent of 9/11 and killing three men. Amazingly, as of this recording, eight months later, the bodies of two of those men are still stuck in the wreckage. Both of these events, the SD card murder and the hotel collapse, are tragic.

[00:05:41]

Both killed people. But in one case, a body was recovered. The remains of Kathleen Joe Henry, the SD card victim, were found on the side of a highway. In the other two, families are still waiting to bury their loved ones.

[00:05:58]

Now, obviously, we all grieve differently, but most of us, when we lose a loved one, want to bury them or scatter their ashes. We want finality that moment when dirt covers the coffin or we throw ashes into the wind, at least then we can try to move on. It's some sense of finality. This sense of finality, any finality was cruelly denied to the families of the four men whose disappearance. We're investigating the congressman, the pilot, the political aide.

[00:06:33]

Their bodies are still out there somewhere. Hale Boggs, Nick Begich, Don Johns, Ross Brown. All had wives, all had children. Baggage had six kids. I am, of course, well aware that this story is making them relive their father's death and confront allegations that their mother was involved. That makes me feel kind of sick. So the idea of meeting them in person and interviewing them was not something I cherished. But I had to try before our trip.

[00:07:10]

I told three of them, Mark Tom and Nick Junior, that I would be in Anchorage and asked if we could meet the other three, their siblings. I left alone. They were young when their dad died and I didn't want to bother them. Nick Junior declined an interview request. Mark and Tom, however, agreed to sit down with me. But then Tom started pressing for information. Who was funding the show ET? Stuff like that, which I get.

[00:07:37]

They're a political family. Good questions. Eventually, Tom and Mark backed out of the interview and they said their mother, Peggy, would never do an interview. Tom did, however, agree to answer questions via email on the record. I asked about his mom and Jerry Paisley from Tom. Quote, My mother is eighty one. You have deeply upset her. And it is not our intent to add to her pain. Comparing her word to that of a convicted killer is like comparing climate change deniers to the scientific evidence of climate change.

[00:08:14]

These aren't journalistic equivalences. Those are the values of entertainment journalism. End quote. Again, I understand that my investigation is painful, but I disagree with Tom. A he said she said is not the equivalent of comparing scientific fact to denial of that fact. And I don't think Paisleys claims should be written off without an investigation just because he was a criminal, especially when evidence backs up parts of his story. His marriage to Peggy, his business dealings, his mob ties, the murders and bombings he committed, etc.

[00:08:51]

.

[00:08:52]

I went on to ask Tom about the state of his parents marriage around the time his dad disappeared. Now, this might seem cruel, but it's relevant. Multiple sources told me that Nick and Peggy Becket's were separated in 1972, that they were on the verge of divorce. If true, that's obviously germane as we try to evaluate Paisleys claims. Tom denied it, saying, quote, My parents had difficulty in early 1969, which they resolve that year. They were not separated.

[00:09:24]

My dad was in Juneau for sessions, as was the case every spring. And even then they worked through it together. I know that they sat all of us down and walk us through it. At the time. Years before the disappearance. If that helps. By the end of that year, they were strong with each other as kids. We saw and knew that that remained the case for the rest of his life, end quote. I asked Tom about Paisleys claim that Peggy met mob boss Joe Bonnano in Tucson in 1972 before Nick disappeared.

[00:09:58]

Tom said, quote, I never considered the comment about my mom by Jerry. In that transcript, to be credible, not only because he was a consistent liar and my direct experience with him, not only because I know how she loved and still loves my father, but because she could not have been there as Jerry claimed she was with us kids as our primary caretaker dad was often travelling or in Juneau. My mom was never in Tucson, Arizona.

[00:10:25]

Prior to 1974, I suppose dating at the heart of his conjecture never could have happened. But that is the primary source of your conjecture. Jerry was a bar tender when they met in Anchorage in December 1973. After we returned to Anchorage, when she realized how violent he was, she threw him out to protect us kids and quote. Paisley, Tom said, quote, continues to victimize us in death, as he did in the brief time we knew him.

[00:10:56]

End quote. And quote, Jerry was a violent and vicious man who had a skill at Charming, a person who was widowed with six kids. My father never had a well, so she gained little but heartbreak from his death when she married Jerry. She even lost her survivor's benefit. She ended up having to cook meals and clean houses in the late 80s to make ends meet.

[00:11:19]

My family is wearied by the things people like Jerry have said for their moment of fame or notoriety. We want nothing more to do with it. I wish you weren't doing this story, which will only cause hurt and accomplished little. But I understand from your words to me your reasons, end quote. Finally, Tom confirmed that Peggy was never interviewed by law enforcement in regards to Paisleys claims.

[00:11:53]

Hi, guys, I'm Katie Lowes, actress, mom and host of the parenting podcast. Katie's Crib, a show that helps women navigate the big shifts which motherhood can bring. This season, you'll hear from resilient moms like actress Gabrielle Union. Thought leaders like author of the New York Times best seller Untamed Glenn and Doyle. And experts like prenatal and postpartum clinical psychologist Dr. Alissa Berlin. We get candid about our experiences and share resources for everything parenting, endometriosis, surrogacy, divorce and blended families emotionally preparing for postpartum.

[00:12:29]

Katie's crib is covering it all for a dose of comfort and community with those who understand the struggles and the joys of raising tiny humans. Subscribe now four brand new episodes. Every other Thursday, listen to Katie's Crib on My Heart radio app or an Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:13:10]

After the baggage has backed out, I shifted my attention to other sources, including Tom Anderson, the former head of the Alaska state troopers who I interviewed in downtown Anchorage at the Alaska Law Enforcement Museum. Anderson was directly involved in the search for the missing congressman in 1972 when they disappeared. He was the captain in charge of the Troopers Criminal Investigation Bureau, or CAIB.

[00:13:35]

This is serious business. This was a most serious search and rescue this state ever had. There was no room for error. And the boss came to us as a we will follow up on everything that comes along. Don't discount anything. It was kind of a cover your butt thing, but it was also you never know. So we covered everything. I also met up with Perry Green, who's famous for two things, his poker skills, which have won him more than a million dollars, and his first shop.

[00:14:08]

Green's furs are beautiful, meticulously crafted, often colorful works of art purchased over the years by celebrities like Muhammad Ali. During my research, Greene's name came up often, probably because he knew literally everyone in Anchorage in the 70s or so it seemed, including Jean Fowler, one of two men Paisley claimed picked him up when he allegedly transported a bomb to Alaska and Jean's brother, Larry, who Paisley said they met up with that night. Can you tell me how you knew Jean and Larry?

[00:14:41]

Well, Jean was a partner of mine till we had a parting of the ways. Larry Fowler was his brother, who was just. I think he had a pawnshop at the end. Maybe at a bar. I can't remember, but he I know he was prone to drink a little bit.

[00:15:03]

But Jean might have known Jerry Paisley in Arizona. I think that just proves, you know. It would be hard for me to fathom that Jean would be involved any way in such a dastardly deed. And you know, Gerry Paisley. I knew very Gerry Paisley pretty well. Pretty well. He across the street was a holiday. And today they call it something else. And I knew him. He started there as a bartender and he was a friendly enough saw certainly get off shift.

[00:15:47]

And he would come over here and sit in a chair and we'd talk a little bit. And that's how I knew.

[00:15:56]

Gerry Green also knew Nick and Peggy baggage. And what was Peggy like? Moderately intelligent. Is that a bad way to describe somebody? She's not an intellect, she was by no means the intellectual. But she wasn't from the hills. I don't want to despair anybody who might be from. Appalachian or someplace. Was. An average person. You know, some people who, in spite of themselves, come from poor upbringing, but they're pretty smart people.

[00:16:49]

They got a lot of moxie. She did not have what I call moxie, which is a ability to size people up or to really understand that sometimes people have ulterior motives or. Maybe I'm wrong. Did you know a man named Alex Miller? Very well. I love Alex Miller. Everybody ever very low down.

[00:17:16]

Miller Alex Miller is the man who arranged the missing flight. Pay attention. He's important.

[00:17:24]

He was a. Bar owner who probably never went into his own bar, never drank. That I know one. But always had a cigar in his mouth who claimed. Friendships with big Democrats back in the East Coast. He was never a boaster. He would he would always get to three, you know, at that time there's a lot of money to three, 500 bucks rally for a candidate. I don't know whether I went to him or what.

[00:18:04]

In fact, when the first governor of Alaska was elected, he had him as his chief of staff. He knew as much about how to pass legislation as as I know about plumbing.

[00:18:22]

On October 15th, 1972, Miller, a well-connected political operative called pilot Don Johns at the last minute to arrange the ill-Fated flight. Something that always struck me as odd. See, George was in Fairbanks. Three hundred and sixty miles north of Anchorage. Why ask a pilot to fly from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Juneau when you could just call a pilot?

[00:18:47]

Already in Anchorage, the answer lies with who paid for the flight. Nobody. It was free. Likely an illegal contribution to baggage his campaign. Though it's doubtful Begich knew that at the time. But why did John do it? Two witnesses told me he was having money issues. And Miller twisted his arm. Here's Cheryl James, who dated John's and was the last person to see him alive. He was having financial trouble.

[00:19:15]

He had geared up for the pipeline and then that would had just been delayed, delayed, delayed. He was paying insurance costs on all of these. I think they were called Herc's, these large aircraft that could shuttle supplies back and forth to the North Slope. And he was behind in landing fees. And he was told by somebody out of Juneau that if he did this flight that his landing fees is past two landing fees would just go away. Which person?

[00:19:48]

It wasn't the governor, but it was somebody right in the governor's office. And I cannot remember his name, Sir Alex Miller. It was. And here's John's friend, Tom Core Matus, who is actually with Johns when Miller called on October 15th, when he got the call and you were there.

[00:20:05]

Who made that call to him? Alex Billers.

[00:20:09]

Don't say it was Alex Miller.

[00:20:15]

And did Dawn disclose what Alex said?

[00:20:18]

Only that to pick up Boggs and baggage and take him to the airport, to Juneau. And that's when I said, well. And Don did say something about. He thought it was bad weather, but he was going to check it out. And that's it. That's when he told me that he owed back rent on landing fees and the rent on the hanger space. So why am I focusing on Alex Miller? Who cares who arranged the flight? Well, if Jerry Paisley told the truth, if someone put a bomb on the missing plane, that person would have had to know the details of the flight.

[00:21:02]

And the flight wasn't arranged until the last minute on October 15th, 1972. Miller is one of very few people who knew those details. And remember, witnesses allegedly told members of law enforcement that they saw someone lurking around the plane the night before it disappeared. I'm also discussing Miller, because when I started researching him, I found red flags. Most importantly, in 1976, at the height of the oil boom, he was indicted alongside a former U.S. attorney for allegedly trying to set up a large scale prostitution and gambling operation in Alaska.

[00:21:39]

He was acquitted. But again, red flags. This guy who the mayor of Fairbanks in 1972 jokingly called The Godfather, arrange the missing flight. There's another twist, though. See, Miller worked for a man named Neil Burkett, a wealthy businessman and pilot who owned an airline, worked at points, was the richest man in Alaska, a CIA contractor, and briefly, George W. Bush's boss. But I digress. When we first spoke, Burke told me something surprising.

[00:22:13]

He claimed that he was supposed to fly the missing congressman to Juneau the day they disappeared. But he got stuck in England. He said. So he asked Miller to arrange an alternative.

[00:22:24]

If you were a Republican and the head of the Young Republicans club, why were you arranging a flight for two Democratic congressmen? That's my business. So I think whoever flew for as long as we paid the bill was right. That's what they did. But the flight was unpaid, it was a free flight. I'm sorry, you can't. Yeah, no, I I was I was reported in the news, asked where and I've talked to a few people.

[00:23:00]

Well, maybe I was doing, as you know, from living organisms.

[00:23:07]

I know, interestingly enough, later, while discussing his company's work for the CIA, Burk's mentioned a business partner in Arizona, something that immediately piqued my interest.

[00:23:20]

These guys are out of Tucson or this company was out of Tucson. Yeah. That's not to Tucson. There's an airbase right between Tucson and Phoenix. You know, would come in anyway. That's where the base where they were based at.

[00:23:37]

And this was a company that you worked with or the CIA folks?

[00:23:40]

It a company, Intermountain Intermountain Aviation. But, yeah, they were all CIA. They advanced several airlines, Southern Air Transport. It wasn't a CIA operation list. We worked with a lot of different airlines and things around the world. In those days. It's in operations.

[00:23:58]

Do you remember what year you first did contract work for the CIA? Apparently around 71 or 72 hours. You know, part of this story takes part in Arizona. So I also asked people, were you in Arizona in the 60s and 70s? No. I mean, I was I was a bit Avery, go to Arizona in those years, probably, I don't know. I travel constantly. Still, I probably was there. But you don't recall when you don't recall going to Tucson in the late 60s, early 70s?

[00:24:37]

Yeah, I did. I went down the inner mountain one time. What do you have was this line, business line that was. Do you remember what it was, former Tottenville? Do you remember when that was? No, I don't. I travelled the world for 40 years. I mean, I went everywhere. At the end of our call, I circled back and pressed Burke on an important detail. I guess the question that I would have is why call a pilot in Fairbanks to go down to Anchorage, to go down to Juneau?

[00:25:19]

Why not just call a pilot in Anchorage directly? It seems kind of a long. Journey when there were so many pilots available in Anchorage. I know a little girl was like, you know, a little boy. By that, I mean, I, I had my own recollection and it was a relative, a trip an hour away on, you know, because Don was a friend of mine, I was thrown some businesses way. But you're telling me it was a nonrevenue trip, so I showed you how much I remember.

[00:25:57]

Yeah. No, it was it was an unpaid unpaid trip. Then let this. That strikes me as strange. By. It didn't do much for me. That was my business. Then why? Why would I fly unpaid trickery and Democrats? I flew while a hitman around in his first campaign for governor. But I donated my time. But they made them get in an airplane. And this wasn't giving away free flying. So, listen, I think that those days were in the business of selling planes.

[00:26:48]

But do you that you may have better records than I do. Or somebody has a better memory to do? In Anchorage, the person I wanted to interview most was Deniz Evon Edge, one of two men, Jerri Paisley claimed, picked him up at the airport in the summer of 1972 when Paisley allegedly transported explosives from Arizona to Alaska after Nick Baggages disappeared.

[00:27:41]

Zvornik had gone into business with Paisley and Peggie Baggage. The trio started Max Inc, which ran a bar, the Alaska Mining Company. Peggy was President Paisleys Secretary Treasurer Zemanek, vice president. Peisley told investigators that while drunk on a fishing trip Zevin, it said that the congressman's plane was bombed and that he played a direct role in bombing it. I did end up speaking with seven at several times for hours by phone, but he declined to do a recorded interview.

[00:28:13]

Every time we spoke, he was defensive and sarcastic, though people who know him repeatedly told me he's an upstanding guy. Every time he vehemently denied Paisleys claims. But when I asked him why he got 50 percent ownership of Max Ank, why Peggie Baggage insisted he'd be a partner in the business, even though at the time Peggy had plenty of money and given it a bartender had no experience managing a bar. He didn't have a good answer. In fact, he said he's still not sure.

[00:28:49]

So the story of our Alaska trip is in part like that of Arizona, one of frustration interviews denied. Dead end leads. That's to be expected. To be honest, it's not like I thought we'd fly in Anchorage and solve everything in a matter of days. When I say we by the way, I'm talking about myself, plus three of our producers, Ben Bohlen, Paul Deckhand and Chris Brown, past interviews past the bombing claim. The most important reason we went to Alaska was to embark on a search for the missing plane and not some fake search, because I heard interesting stories about certain reality TV shows fabricating searches in Alaska.

[00:29:30]

This search was real. In late 2015, I received an absolutely fascinating tip from a man named Bob Martinsen, a longtime commercial fisherman and photojournalist, around 1980. Bob said he and two other men, including his dad, were fishing off the coast of an island in Prince William Sound when they pulled up something surprising, part of a Cessna tale. Here's Bob.

[00:29:56]

I had a real in the boat that would pull this natyam and I'd step on a card to operate the hydraulic valves and it would just bring them at em. And when I can do weeds or sticks or trash or whatever in the net, you just take your foot off the pedal and pick it out of the net. Well, something big and loud and metallic content is about the skiff. And I shot what the heck is there to look over and see the tail of an airplane was pretty shocking, to say the least.

[00:30:37]

But, you know, I didn't want to drop it because of all the tangled metal it was. It was fairly fresh looking tares, you know. But like I said, the aluminum was shiny and it didn't have things growing on it.

[00:30:58]

Bob found the tail wreckage in Port Etches off the coast of Hinchinbrook Island at the entrance of Prince William Sound. It came up in the lead of his persay in a type of net.

[00:31:09]

And it was when I was fishing with my dad and a guy named Orley Reesa. And we fish pretentious quite often. And we didn't usually fish this one beach, but we tried it because we saw some fish over there. And then we lay a lead off for the beach, which is a heavy weight, and that the fish will see and it takes them out to where the person can operate without hanging up on rocks and leaves a fish off of the beach.

[00:31:46]

And when I picked up to lead, it had a tail of what looked like a Cessna jet was it was pretty shattered. You know, obviously, the rest of the plane was gone. So what I got in there was. We are all that remain on that beach. Amazingly, most of the tail number was still visible. I know it's been a long time, but would you feel comfortable saying that it was at least four characters? Yeah, it was.

[00:32:21]

It was four or five numbers. And the tail was, you know, four and a half feet. Piece I had was like four 1/2 feet, five feet long and maybe three or four feet tall. That was pretty much the whole upper section of the tail.

[00:32:43]

And can you tell me more detail that you mentioned? Port address. You remember exactly. Specifically where around Henton you caught it?

[00:32:55]

Yeah, it was the western shore of. Precious, just outside of the entrance to Constantine Hardware.

[00:33:06]

And how far off the shore, how how deep into the water?

[00:33:12]

It was probably maybe a hundred and fifty feet off shore and maybe 20 feet, 30 feet deep, something like that.

[00:33:27]

Bob remembers the tale as being reddish and white, the color of the missing plane was described on paper as orange and white, but I'm not sure which shade of orange. Bob also told me that his shade blind, so the reddish color he remembers could have been more of an orange.

[00:33:44]

You know, I had asked you a few years ago if you had any photos, you by chance, have a chance to welcome, you know, if you have any photos of the tailpiece. No, I don't think I do. We were we were fishing. Possibly could have taken them. But then it would have been on film. And I don't remember seeing pictures of it.

[00:34:06]

And can you tell me what kind of you were talking a little bit about the condition? What kind of condition was it?

[00:34:14]

Well, the tail is like Cirilli new plane. Like it didn't have anything growing on it. I don't remember. It looks pretty shiny, but it was shredded, you know, like like it was torn off. And it was it was just the outright section of the tail, you know, the top piece. Bob said that he, his dad and their fishing partner Oldy Rizza, reported the wreckage, including the partially visible tail number to the Alaska State Troopers office in Cordova, a town on Prince William Sound.

[00:34:51]

He doesn't remember exactly how whether they radioed it in or reported it. Once they got back, he's also fuzzy on what they did with the actual wreckage. He doesn't recall whether or not they left it in the water, brought it to Cordova themselves, or sent it back on a tender. A small boat that resupply them during their fishing trip.

[00:35:09]

I know we reported it. I know we heard that it was. Suspicious because of the numbers on the coloring. And so it seems like they they wanted that piece. I can't remember what we did with it. You know, we were in the middle of fissioning. There's not a lot of room on the ball. I mean, my job's pretty important, so I doubt I threw it out until they said it was an important subject. Remember, if everybody came and collected over a long time ago.

[00:35:55]

Yeah, but they specifically told you that it might be tied to the missing dogs baggage claim.

[00:36:01]

Yes. So there is no I it.

[00:36:09]

You know, what Bob does clearly remember is that after the troopers got the partial tail number, they were very interested in the wreckage. So let me dig in here and review a few things first. Bob is reliable. I wouldn't take a lead from some random person this seriously without vetting them. I checked his background. People in Cordova know him. He is a longtime fisherman and photographer. He's calm. He hasn't sought out media attention ever. He only contacted me in 2015 after reading about my work because I specifically mentioned Hinchinbrook Island, the island off which he found the tailpiece.

[00:36:52]

Sadly, the two men with Bob that day, his dad and only Rizza, who could have corroborated his story, have died. But in twenty nineteen, I spoke with only son Steve, a physician in Washington state, who said Bob is reliable and honest. Steve used to fish in Alaska with Bob Bob's dad and his dad. He stopped right before you went to med school in 1979. Since he wasn't there when the other man pulled up the tailpiece, they must have found it around 1980 or later, he said, which matches up with what Bob told me.

[00:37:25]

I also compared everything Bob said in 2015 with what he told me in twenty nineteen. His story was consistent. So I believe, Bob, I believe that he found part of a plane. The question is whether or not it was part of the missing plane. Second, the location where Bob found the tailpiece is very interesting. Nearly every person I interviewed believes the missing plane crashed into Prince William Sound somewhere between Portage Pass and Hinchinbrook Island. See, there was a communication station on Hinchinbrook that the pilot, Don Johns, should have been able to use to make radio contact while over the sound.

[00:38:04]

But the day he vanished, he did it. Now, there are multiple possible explanations for this. His radio could have failed. He might have been flying low, somewhat off course and unable to make line of sight contact. But the likeliest explanation is that he crashed somewhere between Portage Pass and Hinchinbrook into Prince William Sound. So the spot where Bob found the Cessna tail right off Hinchingbrooke lines up roughly with the missing plane's flight path. Third, while a number of planes have crashed on or near Hinchinbrook, most were recovered or their craft sites were catalogued.

[00:38:41]

There are only so many Cessna like planes that disappeared in the vicinity of Hinchinbrook before 1980 and were never found. Unfortunately, I can't give you an exact number. The database of crashes hosted by the NTSB is clunky, incomplete and hard to pass if somehow we were able to get this figure. To know that, say, 10 Cessna like planes vanished within 20 miles of Hensen book before 1980. It would help immensely. We would be able to better judge the odds of whether or not the tailpiece Bob found belonged to the baggage Boggs plane.

[00:39:17]

Fourth, the color of what Bob found roughly matches the color of the missing plane. He remembers it as being reddish and white. The missing plane again was orange and white. But Bob is shade blind, so there's some ambiguity. One key piece of documentation that would be invaluable right now is a photo of the missing plane, which Don George repainted around 1970 when he bought it. But I've never been able to find one. And I asked everyone.

[00:39:47]

So here's the next best thing. A description of the plane and its coloration from the mechanic who worked on it the day before it disappeared. Here's Phil Hughes.

[00:39:56]

I can't remember what's the name of the color was that it was fairly bright. It was almost. It was. I'm going to call the international orange. Color and white and the orange was on the top portion of the aircraft. And it was it was I don't remember it being straight. I remember where the orange was. It was a solid color, but the whole airplane wasn't orange. It was orange. And why it was tutone. And, you know, it's just multi engine Cessna 310 C.

[00:40:38]

And what do the tail number Z remember where the tail number was painted on the plane? It was as if I remember correctly, it was on the tail, on the upright, the rudder. It was visible from the air. Looking down on it, would it have been painted at the top or bottom of the tail and small or large characters?

[00:41:11]

I think it was in the middle of the rudder tail. And who was the fun size was to fit the basically the whole middle of that tail rudder. There was an overly big and it was an overly small they had so many numbers and letters to get into that space that that's where it was. And so when you say the Middle East was kind of like I'm I know what the plane looks like. So if I'm looking at the tail, I would kind of just be a dead set in the middle and going across the tail.

[00:41:50]

Port. Yeah, horizontally across, it wasn't bit askew or anything like that. It would just horizontal down about midway of that failed rudder. And was the tale also two tone, was it also orange and white? I don't remember that. If it was, it might have been.

[00:42:22]

Fifth and most importantly, Bob said that four or five characters were still visible on the tailpiece. The baggage Boggs tail number had six characters and one eight one two H. The end doesn't mean much. It's generic and on most small planes in the U.S.. But if Bob found a tailpiece that said and one eight one or an one eight one two, that would be extremely significant. The odds of a Cessna tail with four or five of the same characters as that of the missing plane with a similar color found off Hinchinbrook Island, not being the baggage Boggs plane are next to zero.

[00:43:04]

This is why I think Bob's lead is the most important lead on where the plane may have crashed in nearly 50 years, according to Bob Troupers in Cordova. We're very excited when they learned about the Cessna tail. They thought it could be part of the baggage Boggs plane.

[00:43:20]

A key question I had for Bob. Did the trooper say that before they learned the partial tail number or after? Because if before, it's not surprising that they would have linked it possibly to a famous missing plane. But if after if they still thought it was part of the missing plane, that's very important because they almost certainly would have known the tail number of the missing plane and they would have compared it to what Bob found. Bob said the troopers told him they thought it was part of the baggage Boggs plane after they compared the tail numbers.

[00:43:52]

This is why I was so excited that day a month earlier in Arizona when Bob texted me the exact coordinates of where he found the tail. And this is why as winter loomed, I boarded a salvage boat and went on to Prince William Sound, to Hinchinbrook Island, to that exact spot. Next time on Missing in Alaska, a radio. We have air horn flares. On Channel 10, if you see a bear coming towards us. Yeah. So are we all getting in the boat?

[00:44:27]

Yeah. This week, I have two very important tasks for you. First, look for a photo of the missing plane, an orange and white twin engine Cessna 310 C with the tail number and one eight one two H. Second. Help us figure out how many small planes crashed on or in the vicinity of Hinchinbrook Island before 1980. Especially if wreckage was never located. We'd love to speak with an expert who can sort through NTSB data and give us an exact number.

[00:45:01]

You can reach us by phone at one eight three three I.A. tips. That's one eight three three six four two eight four seven seven again, one eight three three six four two eight four seven seven. Or you can reach us via email at tips at eye heart media dot com. That's tips t i.p s at eye heart media dot com. Ben Bolen is our executive producer. Paul Decking is our supervising producer. Chris Brown is our assistant producer. Seth, Nicholas Johnson is our producer.

[00:45:36]

Sam Teegarden is our research assistant. And I'm your host and executive producer, John Walzak. You can find me on Twitter at at John Walls, AC J. Oh, and wafl c ze AK. Special thanks to Bob Martinsen Missing in Alaska is a co-production of I Heart Media and Green Ford Media.

[00:46:06]

Hi, I'm Devon Leary. And I'm Carolina Barlow, and we're here to tell you to dump him. Break up with your boyfriend and we want you to listen to our podcast, True Romance every week where we talk about our love lives and the love lives of others. Please join our exes who we know will also be listening, like Kyle. Kyle, are you there? Hey, babe. How's life? No, you look good, though. Me?

[00:46:27]

Oh, my God. Stop. Please. I haven't even gotten a haircut like three months. Okay. Please help us pay for a Carolina psychiatrist bills by listening on. I hurt radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.