Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Day Elvis Died Became A Tragic Drama For The Area As Well.....

 When I was working on the Daminger story, one of the people I talked to told me a little boy went missing from that area in the 70's. She said it was the day Elvis died.

Where were you when you heard Elvis died?  I was camping at Vagabond Lodge on East Liverpool Road with my family.  I can remember everyone being sad and some people even crying.  I do not remember hearing anything about Shawn Birch.  I do not remember any of the drama that unfolded in Newell that whole week in fact.  Elvis died.  That was all the chatter I remember.
Shawn had been playing in the play ground by Clark Field on that fateful Tuesday. His mom was at work and he had a sitter. There were hundreds of volunteers searching the area for him. One young man even got bitten by a snake as he searched along the river. Volunteers from New Cumberland,, Lawrenceville, New Manchester, the LaCroft Station of Liverpool Township and many local residents were out looking .

By Thursday, Aug 18, it was believed Shawn had been abducted. They even had a suspect and the search expanded to Mill Creek Hill Cemetery where the suspects car was found (along rt 168 in Hanover Township, PA). Other places he was supposedly seen was at Memorial Park on Irish Ridge Road, and even Hills Parking Lot.(Now Dunham Sports).

Sadly, there were over 200 false reports given at the time they were searching.  How horrible.  By Friday, Aug 19, there was no sign of little Shawn.
Friday night he was finally found about 4 blocks from his home.  He had entered a children's play structure, no doubt built by area children.  It weighed over 300 pounds.  When he went it, in fell in on him and killed him.  Such a sad and horrible ending to such a young life.

Somewhere around this field is where he was found.  No marker.  No remembrance of a little life lost.  Often when a child dies so tragically, everyone feels better if they just try to forget it.  I wish it wasn't like that.  He deserves to be remembered in some way, letting the world know Shawn was here, even for a short while.  Shawn was here.