New Jersey Investigators Use Artificial Intelligence To Investigate 1991 Missing Child Case

“People don't know that I cry behind closed doors,” Maureen Himebaugh says about not knowing what happened to her “adorable, intuitive, sweet” son, Mark.

Mark Himebaugh, pictured here at 11 years old, went missing on Nov. 24, 1991 in Middle Township, New Jersey.

Over 30 years ago, Mark Himebaugh, a young boy in New Jersey, left his house to watch firefighters battle a blaze — and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "People Magazine Investigates")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "People Magazine Investigates")

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Over 30 years ago, a young boy in New Jersey left his house to watch firefighters battle a blaze — and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

“I saw all the smoke in the sky and I said, 'Oh Mark, it looks like a fire’ and of course Mark was an 11-year-old Curious George," Maureen Himebaugh, the mother of Mark Himebaugh, told KYW-TV about Nov. 24, 1991. “He said, 'Okay, mom' and those were his last words, ‘Okay, mom.’”

Mark left to watch the marshland brush fire in his Del Haven neighborhood in Middle Township. One theory is that the child may have been abducted by someone in a car diverted to the area because of the fire.

According to KYW-TV, Mark was last seen walking in the direction of his home and stopped to speak with someone possibly driving a small white or gray vehicle.

Himebaugh’s mother reported the boy missing. His right high-top sneaker was found about a block from his family’s home later that night.

“He was taken, but I don't know why,” Maureen said. “There's a lot of theories but I don't know why, what it was. That's why I'm hoping someone will come forward with that I'm hoping.”

The Middle Township Police Department and Cape May Prosecutor's Office recently announced they have partnered with Tabtu Corp. and its service provider, Terawe, to use artificial intelligence to investigate and attempt to solve the cold case.

“Investigations can result in the collection of large amounts of data and evidence. AI has the potential to help find patterns and connections in this vast array of information that may not be readily apparent,” the Middle Township Police Department said in a statement, Forensic Magazine reported.

Police Chief Christopher Leusner said, “My hope is this pilot program will help us solve Mark's case and be used as a model to help with other cold cases.”

Anyone with information about the case or Mark Himebaugh’s whereabouts is requested to contact a local FBI field office, American Embassy or Consulate, or Cape May County prosecutors at (609) 465-2800.

“People don't know that I cry behind closed doors for Mark because he was adorable, intuitive, sweet,” Maureen recently said about her missing son. “I am Mark's mom. Always, always.”

For more, stream People Magazine Investigates now on Max.

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