Overview of Winston Maxey
Winston vanished in 1971.
Winston Arthur Maxey III was born on October 4, 1954 in Rupert, Idaho. He was the second child and the first son born to Winston Arthur Maxey Jr. and Loreen Maxey. Winston had an older sister named Vicky and 6 younger siblings. To avoid the confusion that often happens when a son is named after his father, his family nicknamed him “Little Wint”.
Many describe Winston as being a cute, shy boy. Classmates remember him as having a big heart. A friend recalls the time that a second-grade teacher pulled him out of his seat by his ear because he was being a little “hard-headed”. One summer, Winston wanted a skateboard. When his parents said they didn’t have the money to buy it for him, he found some scrap plywood and built one for himself. His friends say he was a good kid. He did not abuse drugs or look for trouble. He was a typical teenager.
When Winston was 15, he began dating a girl whom he liked very much. In the fall of 1970, she discovered she was pregnant. Early the next year, she was sent to a home for unwed mothers in Boise, ID. Her family decided it would be best to put up the baby for adoption.
In the spring of 1971, after an argument with his mother, 16 year old Winston was asked to leave the Maxey home. With nowhere to go, he found himself sleeping on the dirt at a local campground. A few days later, his cousin heard that Little Wint was homeless and offered him a place to stay.
In April of 1971, Winston’s girlfriend, now 7 months pregnant, returned to Rupert for a visit. Winston tried to talk with her, but she refused to speak to him because she knew he wanted her to keep the baby.
Shortly thereafter, Vicky Schettler, Winston’s older sister, made arrangements for him to visit her in Boise. Vicky says Winston was only in Boise for a few days. When he arrived, he learned from a friend that the logging and fishing industries were booming on the Oregon coast. Vicky says Little Wint told her he was going to Coos Bay, OR in search of a job. Did he hitchhike, or did he accept a ride from a friend? Noone knows for sure. The family lost track of him after he left Boise in early summer 1971. Winston was never reported missing.
In July of 1971, remains were found in Coos Bay, OR.
On Sunday, July 1971, remains belonging to a juvenile male were discovered face up in Snedden Creek in Coos Bay, OR. No ID was found with the body and the official cause of death could not be determined. The police tried many times over the years to match the remains with known missing persons, but were unsuccessful. For 50 years, the young man known as “frog boy” remained unidentified.
Winston is finally identified 50 years later.
In 2017, the Coos County Sheriff’s Office exhumed the young man’s remains hoping to obtain a DNA sample that could be used to identify him. In May of 2021, Dr. Nici Vance, Oregon State Medical Examiner, sent a piece of his bone to Parabon NanoLabs. DNA was extracted and a snip profile was created. This profile included information about his ancestry, eye, skin, and hair color, as well as his face morphology and a composite image of what the young man may have looked like. In August of 2021, Investigative Genetic Genealogist CeCe Moore began reviewing the case. She built several family trees which led her to Lori Merriam, Winston’s daughter, the child he never knew.
Where the case stands today.
Winston Arthur Maxey’s cause of death is undetermined, but the Coos County Sheriff’s office considers the case open and active. His daughter, Lori, believes that her father met with foul play. In an effort to discover who killed him, Lori maintains the 'Who in the World Murdered Winston Maxey? Facebook page. She has also established the Winston Arthur Maxey III Foundation in memory of the Dad she never knew. The foundation's mission is to educate and support families with missing loved ones.
If you have any information regarding Winston’s case, please contact the Coos County Sheriff's Office at (541) 396-7800.