African History

5 Black Teens Went Missing in 1978 and Where Never Seen Again — Here’s What Happened!

Five Black Teens Went Missing in 1978Five Black Teens Went Missing in 1978
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In 1978, on a summer day, five teenagers from Newark, New Jersey, suddenly vanished. Their names were Randy Johnson, Michael McDowell, Melvin Pittman, Ernest Taylor, and Alvin Turner. That day that they had played basketball and had gone home to vary their clothes before meeting up again. But that was the Judgment Day the boys were ever seen yet!

For many years, the police were clueless about what happened. There was never any evidence or remains recovered, and therefore the case remained a cold case for many years. The missing boys were named “The Clinton Avenue Five.”

However, 30 years later, in 2008, while in police custody on an unrelated charge, a person named Philander Hampton confessed that he and his cousin, Lee Anthony Evans, lured the teenagers to his residence by promising them jobs.



The boys, while at his home, supposedly stole some marijuana, and Evans and Hampton decided to kill them. They were locked into a bedroom closet at gunpoint, then Evans reportedly set the house ablaze with the boys inside.

After investigators confirmed the story, both Evans and Hampton were arrested and charged with felony murder and arson.

But justice was never adequately served.

Hampton later pleaded guilty to the murders during his August 2011 trial and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was ordered to pay $15,000 in relocation expenses upon his release. He was released early from prison in February 2017.

Evans represented himself at his November 2011 trial and was acquitted. He later filed a lawsuit against the county’s Prosecutor’s Office and, therefore, the city’s local department claiming that he was a victim of malicious prosecution.

No real justice was ever served, and until today, the remains of the missing boys haven’t been found.


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