Lawrence “Larry” Goodman has been missing from Park Ridge, New Jersey, since January 19, 1979. It was the day after his 16th birthday.
According to a missing poster on Larry, he told his family he was heading to Miami, Florida for the Superbowl on January 21.
Dateline spoke with one of Larry’s brothers, James “Jim” Goodman about Larry’s case. “People had the idea that he was going to the Super bowl, which was in Miami that year,” he said. “The Pittsburgh Steelers were playing the Dallas Cowboys, but that was never confirmed.”
Jim said Larry had a history of disappearing. “He was kind of a loner when he was younger,” Jim said. Prior to his disappearance, however, Larry was “kind of was coming out of his shell a little bit.”
Larry had actually disappeared at the end December of 1978 into January of 1979. When he returned home just before his birthday, his family learned that he had left New Jersey during that 3-week span and was in Pittsburgh, where he became a fan of the Steelers.
There were extensive searches and newspaper coverage of Larry’s disappearance when he went missing the first time. But that didn’t seem to happen when he vanished for the second time.
“He disappeared without a trace,” brother Jim told Dateline. Jim was living in New Mexico when Larry went missing. He told Dateline that he recalls his mother reporting Larry missing the first time he disappeared. It is unclear who reported him missing the second time.
“My father called me up in New Mexico and said that he was missing a second time,” Jim told Dateline. “He said that Larry was back for just about a week or so, and then he left again.”
Dateline reached out to both the Park Ridge Police Department and the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit for information about Larry’s case, but has not yet heard back from either department.
After Larry disappeared the second time, his father hired a private investigator, who, according to Jim, interviewed some people in Pittsburgh where Larry had gone the first time he disappeared. He also interviewed some people around the Greyhound bus station where Larry had worked cleaning buses when he was in Pittsburgh. However, according to Jim, there was no valuable evidence or information found.
Larry’s parents have since passed away. Jim told Dateline that despite the amount of time that has passed since he last saw his younger brother, he is still advocating for him and pushing for answers.
Jim wrote a fictional book in 2016 about Larry’s disappearance. Most of the facts of the case, as well as stories from their childhood are true, he told Dateline. However, in the story, Jim finds his younger brother and they go on fun adventures. “I find Larry and we have adventures and I bring him back,” Jim said. “It had emotional parts. It had a lot of comedy.” That same year, Jim created a Facebook page dedicated to Larry called “Larry’s Life Matters – Larry Goodman”.
2016 is also the year that Jim said he and his other brother, Donald, were interviewed by the New Jersey State Police and provided their DNA to be on file.
Jim says that was the last significant update in Larry’s case.
“At this point, I’m hoping for remains,” Jim told Dateline. “That’s all that I’m hoping for, is to just find remains and have some evidence of what happened.”
Larry has brown eyes and was 6’1 and 180 lbs. with brown hair when he disappeared. He would be 60 years old today.
Anyone with information on what might have happened to Larry should contact the New Jersey State Police Department Missing Persons Unit at (609) 882-2000 ext 2554 or the Park Ridge Police Department at (201) 391-5400.