The mysterious disappearance of Richard Cox

How could a young man barely twenty-one years of age find himself involved in a macabre intrigue of some kind? 

I have been drawn in by the mystery of a fellow named George.  Did he ever exist at all?  Was George a pseudonym of some kind?  If he did exist, expert investigators could never figure out who he was.  No one ever learned his last name.  He was just called George.  He may have served in the US Army in Germany in the late 1940s.  Decades of detective work could not find out his true identity.  Why is this of any consequence?  It isn’t, unless you are a sucker for a good mystery.

The mystery centers around and about the United States Military Academy at West Point in the early 1950s.  That is when a second-year cadet, Richard Calvin Cox, disappeared without a trace—the only West Point cadet known to do so.

Cox, from Ohio, went to high school in Mansfield, there.  He was a little private and reserved, but he was always a good student and was president of his class.  He decided to join the US Army in 1946 and was stationed in occupied Germany as an MP.  He was not known for rowdy misbehavior and applied himself to his work.  When he finished his tour, he was able to be appointed to West Point—a long-time goal he had, not just a passing phase.  He was serious about it and was again a good student there at the New York campus.  He also excelled at track.  Richard was doing well and nothing seemed out of the ordinary when he went home for a normal Christmas vacation during his second year there.

When he returned from the holiday break, he got a call from the mysterious George.   Another cadet who answered the phone said that the George character was rough-sounding on the phone and seemed rude.   It is thought, from the little Cox said about it, that George was an acquaintance Cox had known during his tour in Germany.  George was coming to see Cox and they would go out to dinner at the Hotel Thayer, nearby.  

The man that appeared for Cox was wearing a belted trench coat, was about six feet tall, fair, and weighed approximately 185 pounds.  Cox was genuinely glad to see George, witnesses said, but he returned in less time that it would have taken to eat a complete meal.  

When Cox returned, he appeared tipsy and fell asleep with his head on his books and studies.  When a time-announcing bugle call awoke him a few hours later, he stumbled out into the hall shouting, “Alice!”  All of this behavior was out-of-character for Richard Calvin Cox.  He was so disoriented that he had no idea why he had done any of this, especially calling the girl’s name.  It had no significance to him that he could remember.  After he regained his equilibrium, he did admit that they had not gone to eat at the hotel, after all, but had decided to share a bottle of liquor in the man’s car and talk over old times.

The few people Cox talked to the next day reported that he had been disgusted by George’s conversational topics the previous night.  It seems that in that short outing, George had gone on and on to Cox about his gruesome war atrocities against both the living and the dead—activities that put George behaving somewhat unethically during his own military tour in Germany—why blab that to anyone?   Had George been inebriated the evening before and full of untrue braggadocio, or was he speaking the ominous truth?

Even though he was disgusted, it is thought that Cox met up with George two more times.  Once on the afternoon following their first meeting for a quick chat, and again he was seen talking to him on Saturday, January 14th.   Others reported that on one of the meetings with the stranger, the stranger seemed darker, shorter, and rougher in appearance, adding to even more mystery.  That very same night Cox was wearing full dress uniform when he picked up a dinner pass.  No one knew where he was going or if he was meeting anyone.  He did not return in time for curfew.  He was never seen again—except for weird unsubstantiated reports that occur after such disappearances (seen at the North Pole, in Argentina, etc.).

Richard’s mates did not report him definitely missing until the next morning—an extensive search ensued.  Soldiers tramped out grids on foot, helicopters made sweeping searches, and bodies of water were drained.  Foreign embassies were alerted.  There was nothing.  Years of investigation by both government agencies and private individuals have turned up nothing on the fate of Richard Calvin Cox. 

No one named George that was in Richard’s world was ever located, after examination of records in both Germany and the USA.  Not even a reasonable facsimile.  What happened to Cox?  Will anyone ever know?  Did someone have a grudge against a young MP serving in occupied Germany?  Did Cox receive an ominous warning and go into hiding?  Is he deceased?  If so: when, why, where, and how? 

When he left that evening, in his dress uniform, he did not take any other apparent items or possessions with him, including some folding money he left in his room.   The answer may be out there, but hope has long faded away.  How could a young man barely twenty-one years of age find himself involved in a macabre intrigue of some kind?  Cox was healthy, handsome, and engaged to be married after his graduation to a wonderful girl named Betty.

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of It Rises from the Pee Dee. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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