Posts made in September 5th, 2017

Danny Newville – From a friend

For a month now, I’ve been writing about Danny Newville, an 18 year old boy from New London, Minnesota who disappeared on August 1, 2002. I call him a boy, even though at 18 years old, I realize he was actually a legal adult. But, still… to me, he was just a boy… a boy who was struggling to find his path.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people over the past few weeks, and it feels like the floodgates are finally starting to open a little here in New London. Maybe it’s because the kids who knew Danny are now parents themselves and can understand the kind of pain his father feels. Or, maybe it’s because enough time has passed that people are less afraid and more willing to share what they know. Either way, I’m hopeful that by sharing Danny’s story, answers will soon come for the Newville family.

In talking to people, I’ve noticed some common themes that have begun to emerge. Danny Newville’s story isn’t just a missing person’s case. It’s about a kid trying to find his way in a world of “haves” versus “have-nots.” It’s about addiction, fear, failure, and disappointment. It’s about bad decisions, and slippery slopes.

But, one thing this story is NOT about is giving up. Danny Newville was a boy who loved his family and friends. He wanted to live… he deserved to live.

Last week, I spoke to a close friend of Danny’s who gave me a glimpse of who this young man really was. We spoke for almost 45 minutes, and after I hung up, I felt like I’d been given a gift. Suddenly, the story I’d been writing about for the past four weeks took on a whole new meaning. It wasn’t about a young career criminal who was the victim of a drug deal gone bad. It was about a kid who just wanted to fit in.

Here are the parts of our conversation that stuck out for me.

Danny talked about how hard it was to fit in when you’re one of the ‘poor kids.’ He wanted so badly to be accepted by the jocks and the popular kids, but that seemed to be a line he would never be able to cross. He talked about a time he was at a bonfire when he was about 15 years old. The girls were always really nice to him… he had a lot of buddies who were girls. But it was the jocks and the popular boys who’d say, “What the F__ are you doing here?” It was very emotional for him.

When he got into drugs, that made things even worse. The popular kids now labeled him a “druggie,” so they tried to push him away even more.

The last time Danny’s friend saw him, he was just skin and bones and had big bags under his eyes. She was really worried about him and said, “What the hell Danny? You look like shit.” He looked up at her with these deep soulful eyes that said “Here’s another person I’ve disappointed.” Then, he started to cry.

This cut me to the quick. I asked her if she ever felt Danny was suicidal. Was it possible he had taken his own life? Absolutely not, she told me. He was very attached to his friends and family, and especially to his grandpa. He would never have done that to them.

So… what happened to Danny after he left that party on August 1, 2002? Not knowing is the hardest part. His family and friends need answers.

I’ll admit that when I first started writing about Danny Newville’s case, I did so more out of obligation than want. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved with another sad story… wasn’t sure if I could handle it. But here was a kid who was missing from my own small town. It had been 15 years. His family deserved answers. I should write about it.

But now, the more I learn about Danny Newville and the kind of person he was, it tears me apart. Danny was sweet, kind, and special to so many people. He was just a kid who was trying to fit in, trying to get it right, and trying hard not to disappoint his family and friends. He was a kid who deserved to grow up, to learn from his mistakes, to get well, and to be happy. Just like all of us.

He deserved to live.

If you have information about Danny Newville’s disappearance, please contact Detective Kent Bauman at the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office at 320-214-6700.

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
2201 NE 23rd St, Suite 101
Willmar, MN 56201

Read comments