CBSN Los AngelesWatch

Disappearance Of Boy Decades Ago Among Cold Cases Newly Formed Unit In O.C. Works To Solve

SANTA ANA ( — A multiagency effort is underway in Orange County to help solve decades-old crimes, including a cold case involving a 7-year-old who vanished more than 30 years ago.

Investigators in the newly formed Orange County Cold Case Homicide Task Force are trying to solve 1,100 cold cases, one of which involves the disappearance of Chris Francis.

Francis was last seen April 9, 1979, in Santa Ana on the street corner of Chestnut Avenue and Lyon Street.

“This is where Chris was dropped off around 5:30 in the afternoon and told by his father to wait for him and I’ll come back and get you in a few minutes,” Don Powell of the Orange County Cold Case Homicide Task Force said. “Ten minutes later, Chris is simply gone.”

Detectives hope Francis is still alive and will come forward.

“There are lots and lots of cases where people said, ‘Yeah, I know I’ve been missing. I’ve been missing 20, 25, 30 years. I just didn’t know how to come forward. I have a life now. I have all this. How do I tell my wife and children, Oh, by the way, I’m really somebody else? How do you that?’ ” Powell asked.

Police have generated an age-progressed photo of Francis.

His uncle said despite a contentious divorce and custody battle between Chris’ parents, he believes his nephew may have secretly moved in, with the help of his dad, with another family years ago.

“I think he’s alive somewhere. I certainly hope and pray he is,” he said.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8701 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678.