A cold case in Maine about a teen who vanished nearly 40 years ago is getting a fresh look from police after his parents received an anonymous letter out of the blue. Police are saying very little about the letter's contents, but they hope the author will reach out again and perhaps end the mystery of what happened to Bernard "Bunny" Ross, reports the Bangor Daily News. Police say Ross, then 18, vanished on May 12, 1977, after taking the family car to his aunt's house in Presque Isle, then stealing another car near her home. It was found about 20 miles away, and Ross has been a missing person since. His parents—Bernard Sr., 80, and Carol, 78—say he'd been going through "ups and downs" at the time, but nothing out of the ordinary. The unsigned letter arrived after a local newspaper story about missing persons a few months ago mentioned their son, reports the Portland Press Herald.
The letter writer claimed to have information about the disappearance, but police aren't divulging details. “I’ve never had anything like this happen in my career,” says Maine State Police Lt. Troy Gardner. “Basically, all we’re doing is extending an olive branch, saying we want to make contact with this person." Gardner adds that police can't even be sure at this point that the letter isn't a hoax. The Rosses are going public in the hope that the letter writer, who suggested that another newspaper story be written, is legit. It's been the lack of resolution that's been so hard to deal with all these years, says Carol Ross. “It’s not like there was a death. It was the unknown," she says. "There was always the hope that he’d walk through the door one day.” (A diligent mom helped crack a 10-year-old cold case about her daughter's killing.)