It was the height of New Mexico summer, 1988. James Gossen, a 38-year-old father and diamond broker in Albuquerque, was known by his family for doing things by the book.
So when James, whom everyone called Jim, didn’t answer a call from Myra Redman, Gossen’s wife at the time, she stopped by his house to check on him. The two had recently separated and Gossen was living alone.
What she found at the home was a startling scene.
“It sounded a red alarm right away,” Myra told Dateline NBC. “We found his dog. His shoes were there, his car was there -- and he never went anywhere without his car. I felt frightened. I knew something was going on.”
Myra reported Jim as a missing person to the Albuquerque police the following day. As the days ticked by, there was still no sign of Jim.
Myra and her family and friends continued to look for James and pushed police for answers.
But it wasn’t until the following February, when two rabbit hunters were wandering near Santa Fe, New Mexico and stumbled upon what appeared to be human remains.
“His attorney called me and said they had found a body, and they needed dental records,” Myra told Dateline. “I sent them the records, and it turned out to be Jim.”
According to local reports at the time, Jim’s body was found in a shallow grave near Santa Fe, New Mexico. A medical investigator reported that Gossen appeared to have been strangled but the cause of death was undetermined.
In the 27 years since that day, the Gossen family has searched for answers in Jim’s murder. But no clues about the killer have ever emerged.
For Gossen’s son Michael, who was seven at the time of the murder, the pursuit to find his father’s killer has turned into a lifelong mission.
“It’s something that weighs on me every day in a way that has really been profound,” Michael Gossen told Dateline.
Michael recently got married, and said that his marriage reignited his mission to find out what happened to his dad.
“He would take me fishing when I was little,” Michael told Dateline. “He was just a caring father, that’s how I remember him.”
Today, Jim’s case has been transferred to the New Mexico State Police. According to Myra and Michael, a case agent is pursuing leads.
For the Gossen family, the years of unanswered questions are a painful legacy.
“In a lot of ways it feels like nobody else really cares,” Michael told Dateline. “One man’s death is not everything that law enforcement has to do, we understand that. But there’s something so disheartening about trying year after year and coming up empty handed.”
After Jim’s body was found, Myra collected every item from his office. She has kept them for over two decades, in the hope they will lead to answers in Jim’s case.
“I have a habit of going back and looking through every piece of paper that I have,” Myra told Dateline. “I don’t want to do that until I am 90.”
The Gossen family is offering a $5,000 reward for information in Jim’s case. The New Mexico State Police Department was not available for comment.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the New Mexico State Police Department at (505) 827-9300.