Paul V. Coates–Confidential File

July 22, 1957

SUBJECT’S NAME–Dr. George Ripley Fuller.

SUBJECT’S DESCRIPTION–Age, 28. Height 5 feet, 10 inches. Weight, 150 pounds. Blond hair. Blue eyes. Slight horizontal scar upper lip on right.

Any person with information as to subject’s whereabouts is requested to
contact Missing Persons Section, Los Angeles Police Department.

Much has been written concerning the strange disappearance of Dr. George Fuller, brilliant young UCLA physiologist.

But there’s been a lot, too, that hasn’t.

And that’s what I’m just about to tell today.

Maybe the new facts can start the year-old mystery unraveling. And
maybe–hope the doctor’s parents–once the unraveling process has
started it won’t end until the case is solved.

Dr. Fuller disappeared from his home at 470 Midvale Ave., near UCLA on May 31 of last year.

He left the house at 7 p.m. He told his wife, Renee, that he was going to attend a seminar on campus.

The seminar was called off. And Dr. Fuller never returned home.

Because of Fuller’s position and brilliance, both the police and press
considered the case a “hot” one. They investigated it thoroughly and
publicized it widely.

But they found no substantial clues.

And no solid, logical explanation.

Fuller’s wife told police that her husband had driven off with a few
dollars, at most, and few extra clothes, if any. She added that he had
always been considerate in telling her where he was going.

Seven weeks after Fuller’s disappearance, police found his car. It was
parked on North Sunset Plaza Drive, not too distant from his home. In
it were his ice skates and camera and a book entitled “Adventures in
Good Eating.”

But any immediate clues possibly contained more negative value than
positive. Because it’s more than feasible that the real explanation of
Dr. Fuller’s disappearance began years before he was bodily missing.

The young doctor was the last of three sons born to Mr. and Mrs. Walter
Fuller. His two older brothers were college graduates and successful in
their professions when he was still a teenager.

He admired them greatly. Maybe, the parents admitted when I talked to
them last week, he placed his brothers on too high a pedestal–before
embarking on a personal campaign to emulate them.

Because from the time that young George graduated from high school in
New York he permitted his desire to be the best in whatever he
undertook to become an almost compulsive force.

Definitely, he was brilliant. After three years of college he applied
for and was accepted by three medical schools. He won one of New York
State’s highest scholarships.

He graduated from Cornell Medical College in 1953 and was asked to
remain as a fellow in physiology there. He did, for two years.

Then he and his wife, whom he married in his first year of med school, drove west.

“George,” his mother told me, “was attracted to UCLA by Dr. Magoun. He
knew him by reputation only, but wanted very much to work under him.”

Dr. Horace W. Magoun, then chairman of the department of anatomy, is recognized as one of the world’s top neurophysiologists.

On the trip to California in June of 1955, Fuller grew the beard which
later became his trademark. It was a jutting  bright red, in contrast
to his blond hair.

“But,” his mother told me, “I suppose he’s shaved it now.”

Friends say that, once here, Fuller permitted his work to swallow him
more completely than ever. His conversations, his friends, his
life–all revolved around his research.

But possibly it began getting to him.

Because half a year before he vanished the young doctor phoned his
mother in New York to say he was visiting a psychiatrist here.

The psychiatrist later told Mrs. Fuller that George had expressed the wish to visit his parents in New York.

Then, just a few months before he vanished, he wrote a few most unusual letters to his parents.

“They were extremely critical of us,” his mother told me, “but it’s hard to say exactly how. Or why.

“Like his disappearance, it just didn’t make sense.”

[Was Fuller ever found? Stay tuned for more–lrh]

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Paul V. Coates–Confidential File

  1. CTL says:

    This may have been the book in his car:
    –Exactly right. People used to keep a copy in their cars, just like a Thomas Bros. Guide.


  2. Geneva says:

    I wonder why anyone in Southern California would have ice skates in their car, in May.
    –I wondered the same thing for a moment. But there were plenty of ice skating rinks in L.A. at the time. There still are, and they are a great way to cool off in the summer.


  3. Pingback: Never seen again |

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