Cannibalism and the Strange Case of Nathaniel Bar-Jonah
Something had been very wrong in Great Falls long before the cold winter morning of February 6, 1996, a Tuesday, the day that ten-year-old Zachary Xerxes Ramsay disappeared on his walk toward his school, Whittier Elementary, a simple routine that he had performed many times before. Zach, as his family, friends and teachers knew him, like just about everyone else in Great Falls, had no apparent reasons to fear for his safety. To young, carefree Zach, it was just like any other day as he left his mother's apartment on the 400 block of Fourth Street North shortly after 7:30 a.m. In all likelihood, all Zach was concerned about that morning was getting to school to meet and play with his friends outside before the bell rang.
As he walked down the street kicking up snow, he entered an alley as he made the short trip to his school, located only six blocks away. It isn't known whether he noticed the man sitting in the off-white, four-door sedan parked in the alley behind a house on the 400 block of Fifth Avenue North, with the engine idling. Zach was a smart kid by all accounts, and it seems reasonable to presume that he would have hastened his pace toward school or changed his route if he had noticed the man in the car. That fact, along with many others, likely will never be known.
What is known is that Zach never made it to school that fateful day. His friends waiting for him thought that he must have been sick and stayed at home. He was marked absent by his teacher that morning after the bell rang, and in keeping with school policy Zach's mother was called and notified of her son's absence. Soon, one of the biggest stories, not to mention most bizarre, to hit Great Falls was to break wide open to a stunned public who did not want to believe the worst. The truth was that they had no idea yet about the darkness that had befallen their otherwise peaceful and happy community.