Updated: Sep 17, 2021
When couples split, you'll sometimes hear stories of a non-custodial parent kidnapping their child. This case is one of those and, unfortunately, it didn't end very well. Let's talk about the Campbell children.
Not too long after A.J.’s birth, their mom left their dad, claiming he was abusive, and she and the children moved into a house in Goliad, Texas. A.J. Sr. was only allowed to see his children during court ordered visits, and September 6, 1958 was one of those days. It would turn out to be the last.
A.J. Sr. picked up 3-year-old Myrisha and 11-month-old A.J. Jr. at 9 am; he was supposed to bring them back by 3 pm. He got a ride with a man named William Randle Jr., who I’ve only seen described as an acquaintance of A.J.’s. The four of them took off in Randle’s pink and gray 1955 Chevrolet Tudor and drove through several Texas cities. At one point, A.J. Sr. stopped to buy two cans of lard.
They were almost back to Goliad when A.J. dropped off William Randle to visit a friend. A.J. picked him back up about 40 minutes later, but the kids weren’t with him. According to William, A.J. said he’d gotten into a fight with his brother-in-law and left the kids with other relatives. He also asked if he had any blood on him.
The two drove to San Antonio, about 100 miles northwest-is of Goliad, and A.J. dropped William off. They were supposed to meet back up the next day so William could get his car back, but A.J. Sr. never showed up. William reported the car stolen.
On either the night of September 6 or September 7 (different sources said different things). A.J. contacted a pastor in the Forth Worth area and said — or at least heavily implied — that he’d killed his children and was going to kill himself as well. On September 7, his body was found in William Randle’s car on a road near Austin, Texas. He’d shot himself in the head. There was no sign of Myrisha or A.J. Jr.
So what happened to the kids? Where did A.J. Campbell take them after he parted ways with William Randle? Did he really kill them like he claimed, or did he sell or give them to someone else — in which case, could they still be alive?
After her estranged husband’s death, Jewell Campbell remarried and had at least two more children. Phil Robertson and Regina Meynig believe their half brother and sister may still be alive somewhere and have never stopped looking. Around 2011, Phil Robertson got a tip that there was a man named A.J. Campbell who had lived in Arlington (Texas?) in the 1990’s. The man had the same birthday as missing A.J. Jr. and they looked a bit alike, but that’s as far as this lead seemed to go. According to a 2016 article in D Magazine, Phil was “unable” to find out if the man from Arlington was really his brother.
But the internet seems to generally agree on a different theory. There has been speculation that Myrisha was the Jane Doe known as Little Miss Nobody, whose body was found in a creek bed in Arizona on July 31, 1960. However, Little Miss Nobody was estimated to be 6 or 7 years old — a little older than Myrisha. According to the Websleuths page I found this speculation on, DNA testing was happening to determine if there was a match, but I could never find any results. Most of the speculators I came across think A.J. Sr. killed his children; one person wondered if he might have put their bodies in the barrels of lard and burned them.
Myrisha Faye Campbell and A.J. Campbell Jr. were 3 years and 11 months, respectively, when they were last seen on September 6, 1958 just outside Goliad, Texas. They are classified as endangered missing.
At the time of her disappearance, Myrisha was 2 feet 6 inches tall and 28 pounds, with dark blonde hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink dress with a ‘Peter Pan’ collar, a gathered skirt, pink socks, white buckled shoes and a gold bracelet. If she were alive today, she would be 66 years old.
At the time of his disappearance, A.J. was 2 feet 2 inches tall with blonde hair and brown eyes. He has a birthmark on his eyelid and another below his lip. His thumbs are clubbed at the ends. He was last seen wearing a faded yellow cloth diaper with a plastic liner over it and a blue and white checkered shirt with a darker blue collar. If he were alive today, he would be 63 years old.
Unfortunately, I don't think it's likely that this case will be solved. The person responsible is dead, and A.J. Jr. and Myrisha likely are too. But, of course, there are new technologies being developed all the time that can help with DNA identification, so maybe their bodies can be found and identified.
If you have any information about the disappearance of A.J. and Myrisha Campbell, you can contact the Goliad County Sheriff's Office at 361-645-3541.