NY to Revisit Case of Kids Who Set Out for Concert, Vanished

'Rolling Stone' looked at the 50-year search for Mitchel Weiser and Bonnie Bickwit
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2023 10:30 AM CDT
Updated Aug 30, 2023 2:13 PM CDT
They Planned to Hitchhike to an Epic Concert, but Vanished
Mitchel Weiser and Bonnie Bickwit planned to hitchhike to the concert in July 1973.   (Getty Images / itsarasak thithuekthak)
UPDATE Aug 30, 2023 2:13 PM CDT

Rolling Stone calls them "extraordinary developments" in the wake of its investigation into the 1973 disappearance of Mitchel Weiser, 16, and Bonnie Bickwit, 15. The two New Yorkers set out for the Summer Jam concert and vanished—and now Gov. Kathy Hochul has told the State Police to investigate the case and partner with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office and any other law enforcement agency that has previously investigated the disappearance. Sen. Chuck Schumer has also asked the FBI to review the case and see whether they can be of assistance. "We hope that this work will uncover new leads or overlooked information that will help solve this case and give their families and friends the answers they deserve," says a rep for Hochul.

Aug 19, 2023 10:30 AM CDT

A pair of vanished teens are the "oldest missing-teen cases in the country," and Rolling Stone explores the mystery on the 50th anniversary of the case. Eric J. Greenberg writes that an estimated 600,000 fans set out for the Summer Jam concert at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway in New York state in late July 1973. The Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, and the Band played, and it's "still considered one of the most-attended US concerts to date." Mitchel Weiser, 16, and Bonnie Bickwit, 15, were among the concert-bound masses. They intended to hitchhike 155 miles from the summer camp in the Catskills where Bonnie worked—but they disappeared. It's unclear whether they ever made it to the concert. What is clear, at least according to their families, is that they weren't runaways, and that the police initially botched the case.

The last person to see the pair was a truck driver who gave them a ride near the camp. When Mitchel didn't return to his Brooklyn home and Bickwit didn't show up at camp, their families took action. They say police in Sullivan and Schuyler counties and New York City waved the two off as runaways. The family dove in: handing out thousands of fliers, working with a private detective, putting ads in underground newspapers, and even checking for them in cults. But they soon ran out of avenues to pursue. Two leads have come in over the last 25 years that were actively pursued: one, a story involving the pair drowning while stopping for a swim on the way home; the other from a women who suspected her father killed them. The case remains open, with friends and family hoping the 50th anniversary attention will spark a memory or generate a lead. (Read the full story here.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.