PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nearly 25 years after a boy went missing from Cape May County, authorities may be closer than ever to uncovering the mystery.
On the afternoon of November 25, 1991, a fire burned through the marshland beside the home of 11-year-old Mark Himebaugh.
Maureen Himebaugh says, “I saw all the smoke in the sky and I said ‘oh Mark, it looks like a fire’ and of course Mark was an 11-year-old Curious George.”
So around 3:30 Maureen Himebaugh allowed her son stay home to watch while she ran a quick errand.
“He said, ‘ok mom’ and those were his last words, ‘ok mom.’”
At the time of his disappearance there was an unidentified witness who said that they had seen Mark with a young girl around his age.
Now, if that girl existed she was never identified — but there is a man named Thomas Butcavage.
Originally from Haverford, Butcavage is currently in prison for child sex crimes. He was tied to the case by a tipster who went public with a claim that Butcavage had showed him child pornography featuring Himebaugh.
Police Chief Christopher Leusner, “If anyone knows of any links to Cape May County with Thomas Butcavage we want to hear from you.”
Leusner adds, “I was in high school when this happened so it hits home. My brother was friends with Mark”.
The only clue left behind in Mark’s disappearance is his right sneaker. It was found in the sandy brush a block from the Himebaugh home on the same evening he went missing.
Since then there have been leads, but no arrests
Butcavage’s attorney at the time tells us that his former client denied any involvement.
Joe Nicholas trains k-9 search dogs and has spent his career finding missing people.
“He was the perfect little boy. You couldn’t forget it.”
Out of hundreds, Mark’s case is the only one he was unable to help close.
“I spent 25 years with him in my mind and in my heart. I can’t imagine what a family or a mother must go through every single day.”
Maureen Himebaugh says, “Those hours when you thought they would find him turned into days, and the days turned into weeks, and weeks months and now years. “
This fall it will be a quarter of a century, but investigators armed with newly digitized files and details they are unable to disclose say they are now in the best position since the start to get a resolution.
“We will never give up on this case,” Chief Leusner says.
In the home he grew up in, Mark’s mom waits with a gift still wrapped.
“11/25 of this year marks 25 years.”
Every summer adding four lines to a poem about her son.
“Our hearts are still broken, but holding on for the 11-year-old who should not have gone.”