Reading: J.B. Fisher: Echo of Distant Water
Annie Bloom's welcomes Portland author J.B. Fisher to read from Echo of Distant Water: The 1958 Disappearance of Portland's Martin Family.
In December 1958, Ken Martin, his wife Barbara, and their three young daughters left their home in Northeast Portland to search for Christmas greens in the Columbia River Gorge—and never returned. The Martins' disappearance spurred the largest missing persons search in Oregon history and the mystery has remained perplexingly unsolved to this day. For the past six years, J.B. Fisher (Portland on the Take) has pored over the case after finding in his garage a stack of old Oregon Journal newspaper articles about the story. Through a series of serendipitous encounters, Fisher obtained a wealth of first-hand and never-before publicized information about the case including police reports from several agencies, materials and photos belonging to the Martin family, and the personal notebooks and papers of Multnomah County Sheriff's Detective Walter E. Graven, who was always convinced the case was a homicide and worked tirelessly to prove it. Graven, however, faced real resistance from his superiors to bring his findings to light. Used as a trail left behind after his 1988 death to guide future researchers, Graven's personal documents provide fascinating insight into the question of what happened to the Martins—a path leading to abduction and murder, an intimate family secret, and civic corruption going all the way to the Kennedys in Washington, DC.