Picks and Pans Review: Missing Persons: Four True Stories

updated 09/03/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/03/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HBO (Thursday, Aug. 30, 12 noon ET)

The statistics are startling. Every year 1.8 million people in America vanish, 300,000 of them never to be seen again. This absorbing documentary takes a look at four unsolved, rather different cases: Sam Todd, a Yale divinity student who disappeared during a New Year's Eve party in New York when he went outside for fresh air; Alice Williams, a kindly middle-aged woman who was last seen preparing dinner at her family's lakeside cabin near Seattle; the Rev. Don La Rose of Hessville, N.Y., who had disappeared once before but returned home claiming to have been kidnapped by devil worshipers; and Bill Catterson, a young New Jersey husband and father who never made it home after work, though his car was found alongside the freeway exit to his house. Friends and family members of the missing talk about their frustrating, tragic ordeals. Were these missing persons victims of foul play, amnesia, split personalities or sudden insanity, or did they decide to take a permanent hike? Unusual, fascinating fare.

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