Vanished from Summer Camp: Where Are Bonnie Bickwit and Mitchel Weiser?

    They hit the road for a romantic summer adventure, and were never seen again.

    It was supposed to be a fun, romantic, and ultimately forgivable infraction of the rules at Camp Wel-Met, a popular summertime getaway for kids in upstate New York.

    On July 27, 1973, 15-year-old Bonita Mara Bonnie Bickwit, who worked at Wel-Met, slipped away from camp with her 16-year-old boyfriend, Mitchel Fred Weiser.

    During the school year, the two honor students attended prestigious John Dewey High, an alternative academy in Brooklyn for the intellectually gifted students. Their romance was serious enough, in teenage terms, that earlier in the summer, Bonnie and Mitchel had reportedly exchanged wedding rings.

    Related: 9 Mystery Books About Strange Disappearances 

    On the day they departed, Mitchel made the journey to Wel-Met to hook up with Bonnie. From there, they had a plan. The teens intended to hitchhike 156 miles to attend Summer Jam, a massive outdoor music festival featuring the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead in Watkins Glen, New York.

    bonnie bickwit mitchel weiser
    Here's what Bonnie Bickwit and Mitchel Weiser would look like today
    Photo Credit: Mitchel and Bonnie

    Bonnie and Mitchel left carrying backpacks, sleeping bags, and approximately $25 between them. A trucker picked up the couple and gave them a lift part of the way before dropping them off along Route 97.

    From there, no one knows if Bonnie and Mitchel ever made it to the concert. In fact, no one knows anything about what happened to them—no one has seen or heard from either Bonnie or Mitchel since then.

    Related: Up in Smoke: The Sodder Children Disappearance of 1945 

    Both Bonnie and Mitchel came from strong, loving families who were deeply connected in Brooklyn’s Jewish communities of Borough Park and Midwood. College scholarships seemed to loom ahead of them, followed by their choice of careers. Neither had ever gotten into trouble with drugs.

    Friends who had been in touch just before the disappearance say they noticed nothing wrong. Still, adolescence being what it is, some trouble brewed.

    Bonnie reportedly had a dust-up with her employers that summer and announced she was quitting. She also regularly cried about her infirm and disabled father back home. In addition, Mitchel was slated to graduate early that coming January, but he expressed frustration that it wouldn’t enable him to attend the college of his choice. As their families have long pointed out, though, these are normal teen issues.

    Complicating the mystery is that local police bungled the investigation, losing crucial files among which were each teens' only set of dental records. As a result, no real progress toward an answer occurred for more than a quarter-century.

    Related: The Chilling, Unsolved Disappearance of William and Margaret Patterson 

    In 2000, Bonnie and Mitchel’s classmates planted a tree and erected a memorial plaque in their honor at John Dewey High School. Media attention prompted Governor Elliot Spitzer to reopen the investigation, and the case got TV coverage. In the course of a TV show working on the case, a new possible lead emerged.

    Rhode Island resident Alan Smith claimed that he had been hitchhiking back from the Summer Jam Festival when a Volkswagen bus with Pennsylvania plates picked him up. Bonnie and Mitchel, he said, were among the vehicle’s passengers, along with a driver whose name he didn’t remember.

    bonnie bickwit mitchel weiser
    Memorial plaque dedicate to Bonnie Bickwit and Mitchel Weiser
    Photo Credit: Mitchel and Bonnie

    Smith further stated that the travelers pulled over at one point to cool off in a river. He said he saw Bonnie get swept away by a current, followed by Mitchel diving in after her. When neither returned, Smith said he and the driver simply rode off and never reported the accident.

    When presented with photos, though, Smith failed to identify either Bonnie or Mitchel. Nor could he describe what they were wearing. He also refused to take a polygraph test. In addition, following Smith’s claims, authorities investigated every coroner’s office in the area and found that no drowned bodies had turned up at the time in question. So that leaves only more questions.

    Related: 10 Thrilling Beach Reads That'll Chill Your Bones 

    Bonnie would be 59 now. Mitchel would be 60. Their families maintain an active website and welcome any and all help in discovering the truth.

    If you know anything at all regarding the disappearance of Bonnie and Mitchel, please contact the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office at (845) 807-0732.

    Read more: Mitchel and Bonnie; The Charley Project; The Doe Network; Websleuths; Sean Munger; Unresolved Mysteries

    • unsolved disappearance
    • Bonnie Bickwit
    • Mitchel Weiser
    • Crime Feed