It was 40 years ago today, September 30th, 1978, 4 year old Andrew Amato disappeared from a wooded area of Webster. He has not been seen since.
According to news reports at the time, Andrew had been playing with his 6 year old cousin and 7 year old sister in the vicinity of Ash Street. It is believed Andrew and his cousin walked down a path which led to a deeper portion of woods where Andrew tripped and dropped his favorite toy, and refused to return home without it.
His cousin had gone off to get help from an adult, but when she got back to the location, Andrew was nowhere to be found. The path that Andrew and his cousin had been walking down lead to what was Route 52 (now Route 395).
An extensive search of the area, which lasted ten days and included the National Guard, produced no clues as to Andrew’s whereabouts. It was reported that the children were forbidden to play in the woods, and had gone there without permission on the day of his disappearance.
Some people have theorized Andrew may have wandered over to the road and could have been picked up by a motorist passing through to nearby Connecticut or Rhode Island.
Twenty years later, in June of 1998, a wooded area of Minebrook Road in Webster was excavated to see if any clues had been buried in the forest. The search failed to produce anything connected to the case.
Moving forward to December of 2001. Officials in Montana found a handwritten list of names titled “Lake Webster” in possessions belonging to suspected serial killer Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. Bar-Jonah, whose given name was David Paul Brown, was raised in Dudley and was convicted of the abductions and attempted murders of two Massachusetts boys in 1977.
Some reports had stated that Andrew’s name was on Bar-Jonah’s list, but these rumors were never proven, and Bar-Jonah was never tied to Andrew’s disappearance.
Officials began investigating another lead as recent as November of 2003, from a man who had confessed to Andrew’s murder in 1999. An area of Burrillville, Rhode Island was searched looking for Andrew’s body, but even though police believed the tip to be credible and reliable, nothing was found.
In the last decade, not much new information has come out in this cold case. If you have any information, you can of course call the Webster Police Department.
Andrew’s missing poster can be downloaded here.