Mark Himebaugh was born on May 23, 1980. He was 11 years old when he went missing from Cape May County, New Jersey, more than 30 years ago, and despite the efforts of local authorities, his whereabouts are still unknown.
On the afternoon of Nov. 25, 1991, Mark returned to his Middle Township neighborhood after attending school. He was a sixth-grade student at the Alternative School in the Crest Haven complex.
After getting off the school bus, Mark, who was wearing a blue sweatshirt, a gray jacket, gray pants, and white LA Gear shoes, noticed a brush fire on Bayshore Road, according to My Central Jersey.
As he was walking to his home on Sun Ray Beach Boulevard in Del Haven, where he lived with his mother, Maureen Himebaug, he saw her outside. That’s when he told her that he wanted to watch firefighters extinguish the fire.
The Press of Atlantic City reported that Mark watched the brush fire before he began walking home.
“He was a Curious George,” said Maureen, who also said he was “quiet and sensitive.”
Maureen purportedly allowed him to go, and she also told him that she was leaving to run an errand and would return shortly.
He said, “Okay, mom,” which turned out to be the last words he said to her.
She thought the errand wouldn’t take long, but she was gone longer than she expected. When Maureen finally made it home, Mark was nowhere to be found.
There was also no evidence suggesting he made it inside.
Mark, who reportedly had behavioral issues due to a chemical imbalance in his bloodstream, was supposed to take his medication twice a day.
When he hadn’t returned home by the time it got dark outside, Maureen reported him missing, which prompted a massive search involving law enforcement, hundreds of volunteers, and canines and bloodhounds.
Fliers containing Mark’s picture and information were also posted throughout the county.
According to an employee at Cape May County Park South, Mark was last seen at the park around 4 p.m. that day, playing with a girl believed to be around the same age as him.
She was never identified.
During their search, authorities found footprints they believed were left behind by Mark. A firefighter also discovered one of his shoes on the beach, about half a block from his home.
Maureen said, “I got excited, thinking, ‘He’s got to be out there; there’s his sneaker.’”
In 1992, it was reported that two teenage boys claimed to have seen Mark talking to a white man with “brown hair and bushy eyebrows” shortly before he disappeared.
The man was inside a white or gray vehicle.
Police officials then set up a checkpoint along Bayshore Road and showed passing motorists a composite sketch of the man wanted for questioning in Mark’s disappearance.
Investigators received hundreds of tips, which they followed up on, but it didn’t get them any closer to finding out what happened to Mark.
In June 1993, Mark’s picture was featured in an episode of “The Young and The Restless,” a CBS daytime soap opera, while actor and recording artist Michael Damian performed a song.
Mark’s case was later tied to a man named Thomas Butcavage, who was serving 36 years in prison after he was convicted of child molestation in 1999.
Authorities said a male prostitute came forward and said Butcavage showed him a video of a child being sexually abused, and he said the child looked like Mark.
Butcavage was never charged, but in 2016, he was considered a person of interest.
Chief Christopher Leusner, with the Middle Township Police Department, said, “If anyone knows of any links to Cape May County with Thomas Butcavage, we want to hear from you.”
“I was in high school when this happened, so it hits home. My brother was friends with Mark.”Leusner added.
In 2021, Mark’s mother said, “He was taken, but I don’t know why. 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.”
In 2023, law enforcement announced that they would be using new technology, Vollee Artificial Intelligence, and they were hoping that it would help bring closure to Mark’s case.
In a release, Leusner said, “I want to thank the Vollee team and Microsoft for partnering with us on this important project.”
“It is important that we use every available resource and the latest technology to help us find Mark. 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.”Leusner added.
Law enforcement initially investigated his case as a runaway. But it soon became apparent that he was a victim of kidnapping, which would have taken place around the time traffic was redirected to his neighborhood after the brush fire.
Mark is described as a White or Caucasian male with freckles, red hair, and blue eyes. He also weighed 85 pounds and was four feet tall.
When he went missing, he had recently recovered from a broken left foot. An age-progression photo of Mark shows what he would have looked like at age 40.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Mark Himebaugh is encouraged to contact the Middle Township Police Department at (609) 465-8700.