This summer marked 46 years since John and Jean Block disappeared from the skies over northern Michigan.
The couple was flying from metro Detroit to Luzerne on July 4, 1977, but they never made it.
The Block’s and their plane haven’t been seen since.
The woods of Northern Michigan can hold a lot of mysteries, and former Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Deputy John Block Jr. believes they’ve been holding one he’s been trying to solve since July 4th of 1977.
“It was it was a fairly uneventful day. And in the area that I was already on, the sheriff’s department, that area and further east, to Mio or Luzerne, the weather was good, but there was a big storm front coming through from west, east across Lake Michigan,” recalled John.
John’s parents, John and jean set out that afternoon from Macomb Airport in New Haven.
They took off in a Cessna bound for the Lost Creek Sky Ranch near Luzerne in Oscoda County, roughly a two hour flight.
“They didn’t show up, and it was dark and he was not allowed to fly it at nighttime. He was working on that. I think he’s getting ready to retire. So my brother called me from Luzerne and said, ‘Hey, did Ma and Dad show up in Traverse City?’” said John.
But John and Jean weren’t in Traverse City either, in fact they weren’t anywhere to be found.
John didn’t file a flight plan, wasn’t instrument rated and usually flew by following major highways, avoiding flying over major bodies of water.
Extensive searches in the days and weeks following the Block’s disappearance turned up nothing, and searches in the years since have led to the same frustrating result.
“And there wasn’t a good any good place to look, you know, and not nothing has come up. We’ve had maybe a half a dozen or more of the sightings that people called in from all over the state and Michigan. And the last one we got was in the AuSable River this fall. And he said the guy said he saw an airplane wing upside down in front of his cottage. So we haven’t been able to find that, but there was a lot of a lot of tips, but nothing ever paid off,” explained John.
Local author and shipwreck hunter Ross Richardson has written about the Block’s disappearance and helped with some of the more recent searches.
The strongest theory remains that the Blocks and their plane are somewhere in the dense woods of the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
“My personal opinion is the airport is the epicenter. And as you go out from there, it’s more unlikely to be the further away you get from the airport. That area has a lot of huge swamps. And really until I got in that area and understood it, it’s not going to be in the woods where people have gone through. This is, again, my opinion, it’s going to be in a marsh or a swamp or somewhere that nobody has gone through,” said Richardson.
John has tried for years to figure out what happened to his parents in 1977.
The man who spent year’s helping others figure out what happened to their loved ones, trying to solve one final mystery.
“There might be now a hunter or fisherman or somebody just bought property or just started cutting trees down and have them pay attention if they see what they think is just a pile of junk. You know, you know, you just keep, keep looking,” said John.
If you have any information on what happened to John and Jean Block, contact the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office at 231-995-5000.