Lee Sterling Cutler

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Top Two Rows and Bottom Left and Center: Lee, circa 2007;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 22 (circa 2011)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: October 20, 2007 from Buffalo Grove, Illinois
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: October 2, 1989
  • Age: 18 years old
  • Height and Weight: 6'0, 140 - 161 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Light brown hair, brown eyes. Lee is a vegetarian. He has a small bump on his upper lip and slight webbing between two of his toes.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: Khaki pants and a dark blue sweater with a red stripe.
  • Medical Conditions: Lee has a history of depression.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Lee spent the night of October 19, 2007 with friends. He was dropped off at the friend's home in Buffalo Grove, Illinois at 10:00 a.m. the next morning and said he was going to the clothing store where he worked part-time. He was scheduled to start work at noon, but he never arrived there and has never been heard from again. On October 21, Lee's locked 2007 Toyota Corolla was found parked at a rest stop near the bluffs east of Baraboo, Wisconsin, along the Baraboo River. This area is nearly 200 miles from Lee's home. He enjoys hiking and camping and had visited this area at least once before, but his loved ones do not know why he would have gone there again. Inside the vehicle was a receipt from Kettle Moraine State Forest, printed at 1:41 p.m. on October 20.

    Searchers found Lee's backpack and some of of his blankets were found near the Baraboo River. Lee's pants, containing his wallet, identification, some cash and his car keys, were partially submerged in the river. Among the items located were an empty bottle of an over-the-counter pain medication and sleep aid; a copy of Into the Wild, a true story about a young man who went to seek adventure in the Alaskan wilderness and wound up dying there; and letters addressed to Lee's family and girlfriend. The notes did not specifically mention suicide, but in one letter to his mother, tucked into the Into the Wild book, Lee wrote "I'll finally get to sleep" and apologized for "being a coward." The extensive search turned up no sign of Lee himself, and investigators stopped looking and announced they were certain he was not in the area.

    At the time he went missing, Lee was a senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School. When he was a freshman, he became depressed after he broke up with his girlfriend, but after receiving psychiatric treatment he appeared to make a full recovery. He was a good student, active in his Jewish faith, and the leader of the Jewish youth group B'Nai B'Rith. He was uncertain as to what he would do after graduating high school, but was considering moving to Israel or attending college overseas. Although there is no evidence of foul play in his disappearance, it's uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning and his family fears for his safety. His case remains unsolved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Buffalo Grove Police Department
    847-459-2560

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    Source Information
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    The Baraboo News Republic
    The Chicago Sun-Times
    The Chicago Tribune
    The Journal and Topics Newspapers
    The Portage Daily Register
    The Daily Herald
    America's Most Wanted
    Texas Equusearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team
    Project Jason
    The Criminal Report Daily
    NamUs
    LostNMissing

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    Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated March 13, 2014; three pictures added.

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