Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

he's been dead for years



In 1988, 8-year-old Peter Quill vanished from the hospital where his mother lay dying. Despite a massive manhunt through the surrounding woods, no trace of him was ever found.

or, r/UnresolvedMysteries discusses the Quill cold case.


In 1988, 8-year-old Peter Quill vanished from the hospital where his mother lay dying. Despite a massive manhunt through the surrounding woods, no trace of him was ever found.

submitted 6 hours ago * by frank__zapatista

Described by his grandparents as an outgoing, rough-and-tumble child who was intensely close to his mother and shared her passion for music, Peter Quill was the only child of Meredith Quill. She raised him as a single mother in a trailer they rented from her parents, Henry and Eleanor Quill. They were well-known members of the community in the rural area surrounding St. Charles, MO. When Peter was six, Meredith was diagnosed with brain cancer, and the two moved into her parents’ house. At the time of his disappearance, Peter was a third grader at Lincoln Elementary school.

In the evening of November 10, 1988, Henry brought Peter to St. Peregrine Hospital on the outskirts of St. Charles. Around 9:20 PM, Henry Quill brought Peter into Meredith’s room to let the two speak one last time. Within five minutes, Meredith had flatlined, and Henry quickly removed his distressed grandson from the room while nurses attempted resuscitation to no avail. When he emerged to find Peter, there was no sign of him. Henry and his wife Eleanor searched the grounds of the hospital for Peter, but when they failed to find him by 11:00 PM, they alerted the hospital staff, who called the police.

Despite a three-day search of the woods surrounding St. Peregrine, no trace of Peter Quill was ever found. Eleanor Quill passed away in 2006, but Henry Quill continues to hunt for answers for his missing grandson.


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[-] gecko7823531 332 points 6 hours ago

Reading about this case always make me feel awful. I’m sure he ran away and got injured or stuck somewhere and couldn’t get out. His poor grandparents. They lost a daughter and a grandson on the same day.

[-] firstname_birthyear 174 points 4 hours ago

That’s what I’ve always thought, too. It’s Maura Murray 2.0 (or 1.0, I guess? Peter Quill came first). There’s an obvious solution, but it’s not dramatic enough to be fun as a “pet case”. So you get armchair detectives coming up with CSI plots.

[-] dave_MCMXLIX 5 points 1 hour ago

At least the CSI wannabes arent making it into Missing 411 like downthread...small mercies

[-] jeanluc22 -8 points 2 hours ago

Its really disrespectful to dismiss hard work like that. Those “armchair detectives” are exploring possibilities the police won’t.

[-] firstname_birthyear 2 points 2 hours ago

I guess I’ll have to live with the shame of thinking people who think Missouri is a hotbed of Satanic alien sex cults are idiots, then.

[-] fourfingerfist 86 points 5 hours ago

Why do you think this? He was left alone and then didn’t respond to people calling him? If he was injured wouldn’t he try to get help?

[-] 80sPantsuitQueen 68 points 4 hours ago

He was a kid and his mother just died. He could have wanted to hide away from everyone, and then gotten lost and died of exposure. It can happen easier than you think.

[-] uptownfhqwhgad -1 points 1 hour ago

lol, Missouri isn’t THAT cold in November

[-] gecko7823531 31 points 2 hours ago

If he hit his head, he might not be able to speak. If he cut himself badly, he might not have the energy. You can’t power through injuries like you see in movies. It’s scarily easy to get hurt.

[-] bluesteellipstick 291 points 6 hours ago

It took his grandparents TWO HOURS to tell the hospital they couldn’t find their kid?! And the hospital had to call the police FOR them?! At least half the blame for that poor boy not being found has to fall on them.

[-] dxlr1989 55 points 2 hours ago

This is exactly why I think the grandparents were in on it. They get rid of their bastard grandchild and everyone feels sorry for them, best of both worlds right?

[-] bluesteellipstick 1 point 12 m ago

It reminds me of the Asha Degree case. People don’t want to consider the family as a possibility, but they’re almost always involved. I don’t necessarily want to say the grandparents intentionally killed him, but I think their neglect was the indirect cause of his death.

[-] nugsaurus 11 points 5 hours ago

This was before amber alerts though, so I don’t know if an earlier police report would have helped.

[-] pancakek_ 117 points 4 hours ago

My theory has always been that this is a case like that girl who got locked out of her house and murdered. Bad timing made Peter Quill the perfect victim for a passing predator. I think he’s been dead for years.

[-] analembolism420 83 points 3 hours ago

After 3 hours, the chance of finding a kidnap victim alive falls to less than 25%. There’s no way he’s alive, sad to say.

[-] firstname_birthyear 24 points 3 hours ago

I don’t know, I think that’s too coincidental. Just because it happened once doesn’t mean it happened in this case. I think he died less than 300 feet from that hospital, his body is just well hidden.

[-] analembolism420 3 points 2 hours ago

Just because it happened once doesn’t mean it can’t happen again. That’s not how statistics works.

[-] firstname_birthyear 0 points 2 hours ago

That’s also not how police investigations work. There’s no evidence of an abduction.

[-] don_kiwixote 95 points 6 hours ago

Has anyone considered the possibility of parental abduction? You don't mention his father in this report, so I guess he was estranged? But with cases like Jermaine Mann’s in the news, I wonder if his dad didn’t steal him. Especially if it’s like the Mann case and he took him over the Canada-US border, he could still be alive.

[-] frank__zapatista [S] 90 points 4 hours ago

His father is honestly barely relevant to the case. His identity is unknown, and the police never pursued him as a lead. The little I can find indicates that he was some kind of temporary worker. There's are conflicting accounts of Peter’s father’s involvement in his life - Meredith’s parents have gone back and forth between claiming Peter’s father abandoned Meredith before Peter was born and saying he had briefly reached out to her several times over the years, but never come back. Either way, it’s highly doubtful Peter ever met the man.

[-] MisterSchnitzel 51 points 3 hours ago

This is actually one of the more interesting theories. Henry and Eleanor Quill never met the man, but they did make a brief effort to find him. Apparently Meredith Quill never told them his name (???) but she talked about him like he was a literal angel. Could he have been a cult leader who convinced he was an angel with special powers and then dropped her when she got pregnant? It’s pretty far fetched but I’ve always been fascinated by that detail.

[-] sissyprince 22 points 2 hours ago

That just makes her sound mentally ill to me. Religious delusions are incredibly common in disorders like schizophrenia, no cults needed.

[-] MisterSchnitzel 3 points 1 hour ago

Unfortunately you’re probably right. :(

[-] djcoolio-hime -8 points 1 hour ago

Schizophrenics and kids are a bad combination. Probably she and her parents were abusing him and he ran off because of that.

[-] Stembleburgiss 2 points 1 hour ago

There is zero evidence of this. Please stop.

[-] puddleglummm 1 point 38 m ago

This is the sensitive take on mental illness I expected from someone called </u/djcoolio-hime. Jesus christ.

[-] 1337CAPITALIST 16 points 1 hour ago

Cult leaders don’t just let their victims go like that. Look at Jonestown. I want to know more about the father too though.

[-] veganhoneymoon 7 points 49 m ago

I think Meredith Quill was raped and the angel thing was a coping mechanism. Evangelism is strong in rural Missouri. She must have been so ashamed

[-] dxlr1989 2 points 12 m ago

I agree with you. This is part of my theory on the grandparents' guilt. They wanted to get rid of the evidence of their daughter’s suffering. This has been my pet case for years, and there’s no way in hell they don’t know more than they let on.

[-] cardinalfan89832423 1 points 22 m ago

I remember the Satanic panic around this case. Good ol’ Missouri. Never change.

[-] AgentSink92 67 points 3 hours ago

I think the hospital comes off looking really suspicious in this. A kid comes out of his dying mother’s room and is left alone, and then gets outside without anyone seeing him? I think someone at the hospital was involved. It would be a good central location to traffic kids. It would be easy for a nurse or janitor to win a kid’s trust and then lead them off to never be seen again.

[-] awareofwolves 49 points 1 hour ago

I don’t buy the organized abduction ring theory. I do agree with the second part of your post, though. Peter Quill must have been going to this hospital for months as his mother’s condition deteriorated. That’s the perfect semi-supervised location for a predator in the hospital staff to groom him, especially since he would have been emotionally vulnerable.

[-] aristocatxxx 6 points 2 hours ago

Wouldn’t there have been security cameras?

[-] notnotdead 1 point 51 m ago

idk, it was the 80s. They would have been on VCRs and could have been written over. I’ve never heard anything about them, so I’m assuming they’re not a major part of the case. Maybe that makes me a bad true crime fan, lol.

[-] cardinalfan89832423 3 points 27 m ago

This is a local case to me. Native of St. Louis MO and lived 45 minutes away most of my life. Such a sad case.

[-] PunchesPandas -58 points 5 hours ago

I think the people on this thread are letting their biases cloud them. I know it’s a fringe perspective here, but after the Chitauri incident, the true crime community needs to reconsider their perspective on alien abduction in these cold cases.

[-] frank__zapatista [S] 77 points 5 hours ago

I think it’s massively disrespectful to both the victims and survivors of the Chitauri attack and murdered/missing persons and their families to suggest that secret Chitauri involvement be investigated in these cases. Stop exploiting tragedies for upvotes.

[-] PunchesPandas -40 points 5 hours ago

Why? That's literally the point of this sub.
(Edit: lol I get it, you don’t want to keep an open mind. k I’m out)

[-] frank__zapatista [S] 53 points 4 hours ago

Your theory:
* Trivializes the suffering of Chitauri victims and survivors to treat the attack as a neat add-on to any crimes.
* Trivializes the heroic efforts of police and victims’ families to get answers for their missing/murdered loved ones.
* Is tied up in horrible alt-right theories about “globalists” betraying humanity for the Chitauri. We can all see your post history, and it ain’t pretty.
If you don't like r/UnresolvedMysteries, that's fine, but don't pretend we're r/conspiracy. Unsubstantiated theories are not welcome here.

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