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Missing Gus Henry Hoffman Jr.
Hoffman, circa 1978; Hoffman's motorcycle
Missing Since 07/04/1978
San Jose, California
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 01/04/1958 (63)
Age 20 years old
Height and Weight 5'8, 120 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Hoffman's nickname is Gussie, and he may use the first name Augustine.
Details of Disappearance Hoffman was last seen in San Jose, California on July 4, 1978. He did not habitually ride motorcycles, but he enjoyed restoring vintage ones. He had purchased a motorcycle in October 1977 and spent eight months restoring it. He stated he planned to sell it when he was done.
On the day of his disappearance, he finished restoring the motorcycle, showed it to his brother, then went for a ride on it. He never returned home and has never been heard from again, and his motorcycle was never found. It's described as a red 1966 Harley Davidson Sportster model with a hard-tail frame, a springer front end, California license plates, chrome trim and yellow flames on the gas tank. A photo of the restored motorcycle is posted with this case summary.
Hoffman's mother attempted to file a missing persons report when he did not return home, but in accordance with accepted policy at the time, authorities refused to accept the report until 48 hours had passed. In the meantime, Hoffman's mother canvassed the neighborhood, asking everyone if they had seen her son.
One witness reported seeing Hoffman with two other men riding motorcycles. The men were arguing with Hoffman and threatened him with chains, and when he drove away on his motorcycle they followed him. The men were later identified as members of a local motorcycle gang.
In 1988, Michael Allen Hodges, Richard Morris Dollar and John Michael "Slug" Stelle were charged with Hoffman's murder. Authorities believe Hoffman was tortured, sodomized and kicked to death by members of a local motorcycle gang in a garage in San Jose, and his motorcycle was stolen.
Witnesses initially refused to cooperate with the investigation out of fear of reprisal, which is why it took a decade for charges to be brought against the men. All three defendants were convicted of Hoffman's murder in 1990 and sentenced to life in prison.
Hoffman's remains have never been found, but foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.
Investigating Agency / Department