The 1958 Disappearance of Portland's Martin Family
By J B Fisher
The confounding, little-known case of a disappeared Oregon family and the consequences it had for the entire nation
In December 1958, Ken Martin, his wife Barbara, and their three young daughters left their home in Northeast Portland to search for Christmas greens in the Columbia River Gorge—and never returned. The Martins' disappearance spurred the largest missing persons search in Oregon history and the mystery has remained perplexingly unsolved to this day.
For the past six years, JB Fisher (Portland on the Take) has pored over the case after finding in his garage a stack of old Oregon Journal newspaper articles about the story. Through a series of serendipitous encounters, Fisher obtained a wealth of first-hand and never-before publicized information about the case including police reports from several agencies, materials and photos belonging to the Martin family, and the personal notebooks and papers of Multnomah County Sheriff's Detective Walter E. Graven, who was always convinced that the case was a homicide rather than an accident and worked tirelessly to prove it. Graven, however, faced real resistance from his superiors to bring his findings to light.
Used as a trail left behind after his 1988 death to guide future researchers, Graven's personal documents provide fascinating insight into the question of what happened to the Martins—a path leading to abduction and murder, an intimate family secret, and civic corruption going all the way to the Kennedys in Washington, DC.
Joshua B. Fisher teaches writing at Portland Community College. He holds a doctorate in English Renaissance literature and was a Shakespeare professor before returning to Oregon, where he is now researching some of the state's most intriguing unsolved cases.
320 PAGES, 6 X 9
FORMATS: TRADE PAPER, EPUB, MOBIPOCKET
TRADE PAPER, $19.95 (US $19.95) (CA $26.95)
PUBLICATION DATE: AUGUST 2019
RIGHTS: WOR TRINE DAY (AUG 2019)