10-Year-Old Andy Puglisi Vanished From A Public Pool In 1976 And Still Hasn’t Been Found

During the last days of summer in 1976, 10-year-old Andy Puglisi went swimming at a public pool in Lawrence, MA, with his friends and younger siblings. By evening, everyone had made it home except for Andy, who seemed to have vanished into thin air.

Five child sex offenders were in the area where Andy disappeared, but police could never link his disappearance to any of them. More than 45 years later, the disappearance of Andy Puglisi remains one of the most perplexing missing children cases of the 1970s. 

Andy's case gained renewed interest in the late '90s and early 2000s when a childhood friend, who had been with him the day he disappeared, produced a true crime documentary about her missing friend. In 2020, state police also vowed to solve the case once and for all.

Despite all the research and coverage the disappearance has garnered over the years, however, no one seems to know what happened to Andy Puglisi that day at the pool.

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  • On August 21, 1976, Andy Puglisi Met Up With A Friend At The Pool Near His Apartment

    On the morning of August 21, 1976, 10-year-old Andy Puglisi, his four younger siblings, and their neighbor friend, 9-year-old Melanie Perkins, walked to the Higgins Memorial Swimming Pool.

    Andy and Perkins lived near the pool at the Stadium Housing Projects on East Dalton Street in Lawrence, MA. In fact, the pool was only 100 yards from where Andy lived with his mother, her boyfriend, and Andy's siblings. All-day admission to the pool was only 15 cents, and Perkins described it years later as “the place to hang out if you lived in the projects.”

    Andy's mother had told him and his siblings to stay together and be home by 3 pm, and the group left the pool shortly after 11:30 am. Although Andy's brothers and sisters went home at the requested time, Andy stayed behind with Perkins.

  • Eventually, Melanie Perkins Asked Her Brother To Walk Her Home, Leaving Andy At The Pool

    When Melanie Perkins was interviewed as an adult regarding Andy's disappearance, she remembered that she felt uneasy the afternoon of August 21, but couldn't figure out why. Although Perkins regularly walked home alone, she asked her 11-year-old brother, Jeff, to walk with her when she left the pool.

    Perkins and her brother departed at approximately 4:30 pm because Perkins was hungry, but Andy stayed behind to continue swimming and playing. Perkins recalled that Andy was talking to some of their friends and wearing green swim trunks. That was the last time she ever saw him.

    Perkins would be awakened hours later at approximately 3 am when police showed up to question both her and her brother about Andy's disappearance.

  • By 5:45 pm, Andy Had Vanished

    While not all of Andy Puglisi's movements are accounted for on August 21, authorities have confirmed that he called home and spoke with his brother Michael around 3:30 pm. The details of their call remain unknown, other than that he was told to come home immediately.

    Melanie Perkins saw him playing with their friends at approximately 4:30 pm, and a lifeguard saw Andy still playing half an hour later. Another lifeguard working at the pool that day had the last known sighting of Andy: The lifeguard later recalled seeing Andy leaving the pool alone at about 5:45 pm.

    About 15 minutes after this sighting, Andy's mother began searching the neighborhood for him.

  • Multiple Law Enforcement Parties Mounted A Search For The Child, With No Success

    In the days following Andy Puglisi's disappearance from the Higgins Memorial Swimming Pool, law enforcement and members of the community conducted a massive search. The National Guard and Green Berets were both brought in to provide local police with extra support, and police dogs searched the woods near the pool. Investigators even dragged the Shawsheen River and sent in scuba divers to search for possible remains.

    In total, approximately 2,000 members of the greater Lawrence community volunteered to help find Andy, but there was seemingly no trace of him to be found.

    Over the years, the Lawrence police were criticized for their handling of the case, including the fact that they called off the search for Andy only six days after he went missing.