West Des Moines police have always treated this case as a runaway case. His parents and several witnesses -- including a former judge -- have asserted from the beginning that Johnny was abducted off the streets one Sunday morning while delivering newspapers.
His mother, Noreen Gosch, has continued to search for clues related to his disappearance over the past 30+ years. She believes that Johnny and several other boys and girls throughout the Midwest (including two other missing boys from that same time period) are victims of a powerful ring of pedophiles.
If you get the opportunity, you really should check out "Who Took Johnny." It provides a basic timeline surrounding this missing persons case, plus provides interviews with various law enforcement and media personalities who had previously been involved with his search as well as the family. And then there is a large portion of the film dedicated to the Nebraska prison inmate that admitted to being directly involved with Johnny's kidnapping and molestation.
One of the most controversial aspect to the Johnny Gosch story is Noreen's claim that he came to her home back in 1997. He had threatened to bolt if she contacted anyone, so she says that she chose to listen to what he had to say instead. I know many people who believe that she's nuts for not locking him in a closet, calling the police, or even secretly taking a picture. I tend to be less skeptical about this story that other people.
I didn't realize that she would be there, but Noreen Gosch attended this weekend's showing of "Who Took Johnny" and then provided a lengthy Q&A for the audience. She offered more background to some of the timeline issues from the film -- including her contentious relationship with local law enforcement agencies, as well as informant details related to statewide human trafficking groups. It's pretty scary, creepy stuff.