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Latest Missing Person Video for bonita-mara-bickwit
Latest Missing Person Photos for
Missing Bonita Mara Bickwit
Bonita, circa 1973; Age progression forensics photo to age 58 (circa 2016)
Missing Since 07/27/1973
Narrowsburg, New York
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 01/28/1958 (63)
Age 15 years old
Height and Weight 4'11, 90 pounds
Clothing/Jewelry Description A blue jeans and a t-shirt.
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Bonita's nickname is Bonnie. Some agencies reverse her first and middle names, as in "Mara Bonita Bickwit."
Mitchel met Bonita at Camp Wel-Met and they set off for the concert, which was 75 miles from Narrowsburg. It is believed that Mitchel and Bonita had approximately $25 between them. They carried backpacks, sleeping bags, and a cardboard sign that read "Watkins Glen." They were last seen hitchhiking along State Route 97. The truck driver who gave them a ride is the last confirmed person to have seen them. It's unclear whether they actually arrived in Watkins Glen. They have never been heard from again.
Authorities initially believed that the couple simply ran off together. Bonita and Mitchel had secretly exchanged wedding rings earlier in the summer of 1973. Both were intelligent teenagers who attended John Dewey High School, a Brooklyn alternative school for gifted, high-achieving students. Bonita lived in Borough Park with her family when she was not working at Camp Wel-Met; Mitchel lived in Midwood. Both Bonita and Mitchel are from stable, middle-class Jewish families.
Both Mitchel and Bonita's loved ones say the two seemed ill at ease before they left for the concert. Bonita sneaked away from Camp Wel-Met and went home one day the week before she vanished, and took $80 which she had been saving for a bicycle. Her family was not home at the time, but neighbors saw her.
In 2000, a witness, Allyn Smith, claimed he saw both Bonita and Mitchel drown while they were on their way back from Watkins Glen. Smith, then 24, said he was also going to the Watkins Glen rock festival and hitched a ride on a Volkswagen bus and two teenagers, whom he identified as Bonita and Mitchel, were also on the bus. He did not know their names but had heard them talking about the girl's summer camp and recalled their clothing.
They all stopped to cool off in a nearby river when Bonita got into trouble in the water. Mitchel jumped in to save her and they were both swept away, still alive. The bus driver told Smith he would call the police at the nearest gas station, but authorities have no record of such a call being made.
Police call Smith "credible" but wonder why, as an athletic Navy veteran, he did not try to rescue the drowning teenagers. They are investigating his account, which has not been confirmed. The driver of the bus has not been found and Smith cannot remember the location of the river the teens allegedly drowned in. As a result, his story cannot be fully investigated.
Bonita and Mitchel remain missing and their cases are unsolved. Their families have criticized the police for what they call a perfunctory investigation. The original case files have apparently been lost. Included in the files were the only existing copies of Bonita's and Mitchel's dental records, which could have been used to identify their bodies. Authorities now admit that they made many mistakes in the investigation.
A new investigator has been assigned to the cases. The state attorney general got involved in the investigation in 2000. Bonita and Mitchel's families hope the additional assistance will help solve the case.
Investigating Agency / Department