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Paul V. Coates--Confidential File

July 24, 2007 |  6:33 pm

Paul_coates July 22, 1957

SUBJECT'S NAME--Dr. George Ripley Fuller.

SUBJECT'S DESCRIPTION--Age, 28. Height 5 feet, 10 inches. Weight, 150 pounds. Blond hair. Blue eyes. Slight horizontal scar upper lip on right.

Any person with information as to subject's whereabouts is requested to contact Missing Persons Section, Los Angeles Police Department.

Much has been written concerning the strange disappearance of Dr. George Fuller, brilliant young UCLA physiologist.

But there's been a lot, too, that hasn't.

And that's what I'm just about to tell today.

Maybe the new facts can start the year-old mystery unraveling. And maybe--hope the doctor's parents--once the unraveling process has started it won't end until the case is solved.

Dr. Fuller disappeared from his home at 470 Midvale Ave., near UCLA on May 31 of last year.

He left the house at 7 p.m. He told his wife, Renee, that he was going to attend a seminar on campus.

The seminar was called off. And Dr. Fuller never returned home.

Because of Fuller's position and brilliance, both the police and press considered the case a "hot" one. They investigated it thoroughly and publicized it widely.

But they found no substantial clues.

And no solid, logical explanation.

1956_fuller_missing Fuller's wife told police that her husband had driven off with a few dollars, at most, and few extra clothes, if any. She added that he had always been considerate in telling her where he was going.

Seven weeks after Fuller's disappearance, police found his car. It was parked on North Sunset Plaza Drive, not too distant from his home. In it were his ice skates and camera and a book entitled "Adventures in Good Eating."

But any immediate clues possibly contained more negative value than positive. Because it's more than feasible that the real explanation of Dr. Fuller's disappearance began years before he was bodily missing.

The young doctor was the last of three sons born to Mr. and Mrs. Walter Fuller. His two older brothers were college graduates and successful in their professions when he was still a teenager.

He admired them greatly. Maybe, the parents admitted when I talked to them last week, he placed his brothers on too high a pedestal--before embarking on a personal campaign to emulate them.

Because from the time that young George graduated from high school in New York he permitted his desire to be the best in whatever he undertook to become an almost compulsive force.

Definitely, he was brilliant. After three years of college he applied for and was accepted by three medical schools. He won one of New York State's highest scholarships.

He graduated from Cornell Medical College in 1953 and was asked to remain as a fellow in physiology there. He did, for two years.

Then he and his wife, whom he married in his first year of med school, drove west.

"George," his mother told me, "was attracted to UCLA by Dr. Magoun. He knew him by reputation only, but wanted very much to work under him."

Dr. Horace W. Magoun, then chairman of the department of anatomy, is recognized as one of the world's top neurophysiologists.

On the trip to California in June of 1955, Fuller grew the beard which later became his trademark. It was a jutting  bright red, in contrast to his blond hair.

"But," his mother told me, "I suppose he's shaved it now."

Friends say that, once here, Fuller permitted his work to swallow him more completely than ever. His conversations, his friends, his life--all revolved around his research.

But possibly it began getting to him.

Because half a year before he vanished the young doctor phoned his mother in New York to say he was visiting a psychiatrist here.

The psychiatrist later told Mrs. Fuller that George had expressed the wish to visit his parents in New York.

Then, just a few months before he vanished, he wrote a few most unusual letters to his parents.

"They were extremely critical of us," his mother told me, "but it's hard to say exactly how. Or why.

"Like his disappearance, it just didn't make sense."

[Was Fuller ever found? Stay tuned for more--lrh]