A tragedy of this scale has far-reaching effects that reverberate through the years and touches family members in different ways. Memories fade or change, and new questions emerge as the Kleins reckon with the lack of answers they have about what happened to the boys and who is ultimately responsible.
Gordon Klein’s memory of his childhood is foggy. As a nine-year-old at the time of his brothers’ disappearance, “I just kinda blocked all the other friends and stuff that I had out, and my brothers were the only thing that mattered to me. I don’t have a lot of that in my mind anymore. It’s like I pushed it out because it wasn’t fun. You know, I think you’re kind of lucky when stuff happens when you’re young like that… It’s easier for you to hide it some place.”
Despite the inevitable passing of time, Gordon has never really shaken away his feelings of guilt for not being with his brothers that day. Gordon’s youngest brother, Donald, who was born after the disappearance, tries to put himself in his brother’s shoes. “I can’t even begin to imagine what Gordy suffered. Three of his brothers. I mean, his world taken. His life torn apart. Something put on a child nobody has a right to put on a child,” he says.
In the photo above, Gordon sits off to the side as Betty and Kenneth hold two of his brothers, who were born after the disappearance. The Kleins worked tirelessly to search for their missing sons and to keep the family together at the same time – but, as with most families, their story remains complicated.
Today, Gordon lives with his wife, Diana, not far from the farm the Klein family moved to after that horrible day in November 1951. He is surrounded by apple trees and his four dogs, all rescues. After all, in Gordon’s words, “Everything is a rescue around here.”
One of the oldest active missing persons cases in the state of Minnesota, the Klein brothers’ story resurfaces in Long Lost: An Investigative History Series, weaving together the details of that day they went missing in 1951 right up until the present moment. You can listen to the third episode of the podcast at the top of this article – and stay tuned for new episodes weekly.
You can also start at the very beginning in the first episode of this true-crime podcast, Long Lost Episode 1: Look Everywhere. Then head directly into Long Lost Episode 2: Searching Endlessly, and Long Lost Episode 3: The Suspects.
This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the Friends of Minnesota Experience.
Get a brief overview of where the Long Lost podcast series is headed in this preview.
Minnesota is no stranger to notoriety when it comes to crime and criminals. In June 1977, the wealthy heiress Elizabeth Congdon and her nurse were murdered inside Glensheen Mansion on the North Shore. Congdon’s adopted daughter, Marjorie, and Marjorie’s then-husband were accused of the crime. But the fallout from the trial and subsequent suspicions for other crimes is the stuff of legend. Read all about it in Glensheen’s Gilded and Grisly Past.