The New York Times, March 12, 1983
Copyright 1983 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
March 12, 1983, Saturday, Late City Final Edition
SECTION: Section 1;
Page 1, Column 6; Metropolitan Desk
LENGTH: 767 words
HEADLINE: 2 MISSING
PROFESSORS THOUGHT TO BE SLAIN ON TRIP TO INDONESIA
BYLINE: BY GENE I.
Two English professors from City University who disappeared two months ago
during a vacation in Indonesia are believed dead, killed during a robbery,
the sister of one of the men said yesterday.
The State Department confirmed yesterday that the Indonesian police have
arrested five men in connection with the disappearance. The statement was
made by John Caulfield, a press officer in the department's Bureau of
Consular Affairs in Washington,
Mr. Caulfield added that he could not confirm that the two professors were
Report of a Confession
However, one of the Indonesians arrested has confessed to murdering the
Americans, said Jean Grazer of Salt Lake City, the sister of Dr. James D.
Allen of Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, one of the missing
professors. The other missing professor is Roy
Huss of Queens College. ''My husband said five young Sumatrans
attacked them for their money,'' Jean Grazer said after talking by telephone
with her husband and son, who went to Indonesia to search for the
Mrs. Grazer's husband, Richard, and her son, Allen, have been keeping Mrs.
Grazer abreast of their search, which they said has been conducted with the
assistance of the Indonesian police.
From the information she has received, Mrs. Grazer has pieced together this
sequence of events: Dr. Allen, 57 years old, and Dr. Huss, 55, reached Medan,
a city on the eastern shore of the island of Sumatra, on Jan. 13. They
arrived from Pinang, on the west coast of Malaysia, directly across the
Strait of Malacca.
Two days later, they were in Brastagi, a village about 30 miles south of
Medan, several miles from the northern shore of Lake Toba, and close to a
volcano sometimes visited by tourists.
They had apparently arranged for a guide to take them to the volcano, and
when he did not show up, they left their belongings in a hotel in Brastagi
and set out by foot on their own. Two young Australian women say they saw
the professors, not accompanied by a guide, on a road leading to the volcano
on Jan. 15.
Thieves seem to have attacked the professors sometime thereafter. ''We don't
know why the hotel didn't notify the police when they didn't return for
their belongings,'' Mrs. Grazer said.
An Experienced Traveler
Dr. Allen, an experienced traveler, always called his relatives in Salt Lake
City during his trips abroad. When more than two weeks passed and there was
no phone call from Dr. Allen, the family called the State Department on Jan.
Relatives of Dr. Allen grew increasingly anxious when still more time
elapsed and there was no further information on his whereabouts.Mabel Allen,
Dr. Allen's 82-year-old mother, called her grandson, Allen Grazer, in Tokyo,
where he works as a photographer, and asked him to go to Indonesia.
Allen Grazer flew to Singapore and went to the Indonesian Embassy for a
visa, explaining that he was in a hurry. His grandmother says he was told
that a visa ordinarily cost $3, but that he was charged $50 to have the visa
A few days later, Allen's father, Richard Grazer, arrived in Singapore and
said that he, too, was charged $50 for a visa.
Conferring With Police
On reaching Medan and conferring with the police, Allen Grazer found that
the police believed that the professors had gone to Brastagi, but that they
had been unable to find any trace of them there.
Allen Grazer went to Brastagi and found someone who said he had seen the two
professors in that town and had reason to believe that they might have
checked into a certain hotel.
The police said they had searched that hotel twice without finding a trace
of the professors. Mr. Grazer persuaded them to search it again.
The police returned to the hotel last week, and this time, they found
passports, backpacks and traveler's checks belonging to Dr. Allen and Dr.
An announcement placed by the United States Consulate in Medan appeared in
newspapers in that city last Sunday offering a $500 reward for information
leading to the discovery of the two men. The money for the reward was
pledged by Mabel Allen.
Dr. Allen and Dr. Huss have shared a loft for more than a year on Spring
Street, in the SoHo section of Manhattan. They have been teaching at the
City University since the mid-1960's, and they took their trip during the
institution's winter break.
Dr. Huss, whose doctorate is from the University of Chicago, has specialized
in film studies and is co-author of ''The Film Experience.''
Dr. Allen, whose doctorate is from the University of Washington, pursued
interests in Eastern religions.
Illustrations: Map of Indonesia (Page 27) photo of James Allen (Page 27)
photo of Roy
Huss (Page 27)
The New York Times, September 18, 1987
Copyright 1987 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
September 18, 1987, Friday, Late City Final Edition
SECTION: Section B; Page
3, Column 1; Metropolitan Desk
LENGTH: 603 words
HEADLINE: 2 PROFESSORS
WHO VANISHED IN '83 IN INDONESIA ARE DECLARED DEAD
BYLINE: By KIRK JOHNSON
Two English professors from the City University of New York who vanished in a
remote jungle area on the Indonesian island of Sumatra more than four years ago
have been declared legally dead by a judge in Manhattan.
The professors, Dr. Roy
Huss of Queens College and Dr. James Dresser Allen of Kingsborough
Community College, disappeared while vacationing together on the northern
section of the island.
They were last seen alive on Jan. 15, 1983, shortly after receiving directions
from villagers about a short cut through the forest near a guest house where
they were staying.
According to New York State law, a person may be assumed dead if no trace is
found for at least five years, or before that time if it can be shown that the
person was ''exposed to a specific peril of death'' at the time of
disappearance. In settling the case in a decision issued last week, Surrogate
Marie M. Lambert said that even though no one was convicted in the
disappearances, ''there is strong evidence of foul play as the cause.''
According to the ruling, an employee of the guest house initially confessed to
the police that he and two other men had robbed and murdered the two hikers on
the short-cut path, near Mount Sibayak, and buried their bodies on a slope of
the mountain. When taken to the site, however, he recanted the confession and
the graves were never found.
The court-appointed guardian for the estates of the two men, Bernard B. Cohen,
said murder charges were never pressed because of the lack of evidence.
Surrogate Lambert said that based on reports from Indonesian authorities and
State Department officials, the men were traveling in an area that was ''fatally
lacking in food sources, contained wild animals that could attack humans and
that pockets of poisonous gases were scattered in the area, all of which would
be life-threatening to anyone lost.'' The decision was published yesterday in
The New York Law Journal.
Researching an Article
Professor Huss, who was 54 years old when he vanished, and Professor Allen, 57,
were both experienced travelers. They were said to have been on a working
vacation, researching an article on Indonesia. They were last seen near the
mountain resort village of Brastagi, in northern Sumatra. Sumatra is a
thousand-mile-long island northwest of the island of Java, where Indonesia's
capital, Jakarta, is situated.
Efforts to have the men declared legally dead began in August 1983 by a nephew
of Dr. Allen and joined by relatives of Dr. Huss in 1985. Neither man was
married, and both left estates of several hundred thousand dollars, according to
Mr. Cohen said much of the problem in settling the cases involved the reluctance
of Indonesian officials to provide information, or even to confirm that the men
had been staying in the area.
The case involved more than a year and a half of testimony from witnesses,
family members and investigators from Interpol and other police agencies. Mr.
Cohen said the investigation eventually centered on the short-cut path that the
men took after consulting with villagers.
Dr. Huss, who had been on the Queens College faculty since 1963, started the
film studies program in the English department there and was the co-author of a
widely used textbook, ''The Film Experience.''
Dr. Allen, an associate professor of English at Kingsborough Community College
in Brooklyn, had been on the faculty since 1965. On a fellowship awarded to him
by the college in 1981, he studed the writings of Aldous Huxley and traveled to
Thailand to spend time in a Buddhist monastery as part of his research.
GRAPHIC: Photo of Dr. Roy
Huss (Associated Press)
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