Judge Crater: the missingist man in America

On the night of August 6, 1930, Joseph Force Crater got into a midtown cab—and was never seen or heard from again. So began the saga of “the missingist man in America,” a state supreme court judge with ties to organized crime and a penchant for picking up showgirls who left behind a tantalizing trail of crooked dealings.

His whereabouts became a national obsession, with journalists, tabloid writers, and comedians weighing in for decades on his fate. Even after having him declared legally dead in 1939 and remarrying, his wife, shown below, insisted that police keep the case open.

To this day, however, the case remains unsolved. Did Judge Crater plot his own disappearance, fearing that he would be indicted for corruption within the Cayuga Democratic Club, of which he had been president? Was he killed by mobsters? 

In 2005, notes left behind by a recently deceased 91-year-old woman in Queens indicated that he may have been murdered in the cab and buried under the Coney Island Boardwalk. Police did not try to dig up any remains.

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One Response to “Judge Crater: the missingist man in America”

  1. Joe Crater Says:

    I’m 121 years old and you can find my on Twitter. Marty and the b’hoys at Cayuga were glad to see me go away for a while. -JFC

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