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The New York Times, March 12, 1983

Copyright 1983 The New York Times Company  
The New York Times

March 12, 1983, Saturday, Late City Final Edition

SECTION: Section 1; Page 1, Column 6; Metropolitan Desk

LENGTH: 767 words



Two English professors from City University who disappeared two months ago during a vacation in Indonesia are believed dead, killed during a robbery, the sister of one of the men said yesterday.

The State Department confirmed yesterday that the Indonesian police have arrested five men in connection with the disappearance. The statement was made by John Caulfield, a press officer in the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington,

Mr. Caulfield added that he could not confirm that the two professors were dead.
Report of a Confession

However, one of the Indonesians arrested has confessed to murdering the Americans, said Jean Grazer of Salt Lake City, the sister of Dr. James D. Allen of Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, one of the missing professors. The other missing professor is Roy Huss of Queens College. ''My husband said five young Sumatrans attacked them for their money,'' Jean Grazer said after talking by telephone with her husband and son, who went to Indonesia to search for the professors.

Mrs. Grazer's husband, Richard, and her son, Allen, have been keeping Mrs. Grazer abreast of their search, which they said has been conducted with the assistance of the Indonesian police.

From the information she has received, Mrs. Grazer has pieced together this sequence of events: Dr. Allen, 57 years old, and Dr. Huss, 55, reached Medan, a city on the eastern shore of the island of Sumatra, on Jan. 13. They arrived from Pinang, on the west coast of Malaysia, directly across the Strait of Malacca.

Two days later, they were in Brastagi, a village about 30 miles south of Medan, several miles from the northern shore of Lake Toba, and close to a volcano sometimes visited by tourists.

They had apparently arranged for a guide to take them to the volcano, and when he did not show up, they left their belongings in a hotel in Brastagi and set out by foot on their own. Two young Australian women say they saw the professors, not accompanied by a guide, on a road leading to the volcano on Jan. 15.

Thieves seem to have attacked the professors sometime thereafter. ''We don't know why the hotel didn't notify the police when they didn't return for their belongings,'' Mrs. Grazer said.
An Experienced Traveler

Dr. Allen, an experienced traveler, always called his relatives in Salt Lake City during his trips abroad. When more than two weeks passed and there was no phone call from Dr. Allen, the family called the State Department on Jan. 29.

Relatives of Dr. Allen grew increasingly anxious when still more time elapsed and there was no further information on his whereabouts.Mabel Allen, Dr. Allen's 82-year-old mother, called her grandson, Allen Grazer, in Tokyo, where he works as a photographer, and asked him to go to Indonesia.

Allen Grazer flew to Singapore and went to the Indonesian Embassy for a visa, explaining that he was in a hurry. His grandmother says he was told that a visa ordinarily cost $3, but that he was charged $50 to have the visa provided quickly.

A few days later, Allen's father, Richard Grazer, arrived in Singapore and said that he, too, was charged $50 for a visa.
Conferring With Police

On reaching Medan and conferring with the police, Allen Grazer found that the police believed that the professors had gone to Brastagi, but that they had been unable to find any trace of them there.

Allen Grazer went to Brastagi and found someone who said he had seen the two professors in that town and had reason to believe that they might have checked into a certain hotel.

The police said they had searched that hotel twice without finding a trace of the professors. Mr. Grazer persuaded them to search it again.

The police returned to the hotel last week, and this time, they found passports, backpacks and traveler's checks belonging to Dr. Allen and Dr. Huss.

An announcement placed by the United States Consulate in Medan appeared in newspapers in that city last Sunday offering a $500 reward for information leading to the discovery of the two men. The money for the reward was pledged by Mabel Allen.

Dr. Allen and Dr. Huss have shared a loft for more than a year on Spring Street, in the SoHo section of Manhattan. They have been teaching at the City University since the mid-1960's, and they took their trip during the institution's winter break.

Dr. Huss, whose doctorate is from the University of Chicago, has specialized in film studies and is co-author of ''The Film Experience.''

Dr. Allen, whose doctorate is from the University of Washington, pursued interests in Eastern religions.

GRAPHIC: Illustrations: Map of Indonesia (Page 27) photo of James Allen (Page 27) photo of Roy Huss (Page 27)
The New York Times, September 18, 1987

Copyright 1987 The New York Times Company  
The New York Times

September 18, 1987, Friday, Late City Final Edition

SECTION: Section B; Page 3, Column 1; Metropolitan Desk

LENGTH: 603 words



Two English professors from the City University of New York who vanished in a remote jungle area on the Indonesian island of Sumatra more than four years ago have been declared legally dead by a judge in Manhattan.

The professors, Dr. Roy Huss of Queens College and Dr. James Dresser Allen of Kingsborough Community College, disappeared while vacationing together on the northern section of the island.

They were last seen alive on Jan. 15, 1983, shortly after receiving directions from villagers about a short cut through the forest near a guest house where they were staying.

According to New York State law, a person may be assumed dead if no trace is found for at least five years, or before that time if it can be shown that the person was ''exposed to a specific peril of death'' at the time of disappearance. In settling the case in a decision issued last week, Surrogate Marie M. Lambert said that even though no one was convicted in the disappearances, ''there is strong evidence of foul play as the cause.''

According to the ruling, an employee of the guest house initially confessed to the police that he and two other men had robbed and murdered the two hikers on the short-cut path, near Mount Sibayak, and buried their bodies on a slope of the mountain. When taken to the site, however, he recanted the confession and the graves were never found.

The court-appointed guardian for the estates of the two men, Bernard B. Cohen, said murder charges were never pressed because of the lack of evidence.

Surrogate Lambert said that based on reports from Indonesian authorities and State Department officials, the men were traveling in an area that was ''fatally lacking in food sources, contained wild animals that could attack humans and that pockets of poisonous gases were scattered in the area, all of which would be life-threatening to anyone lost.'' The decision was published yesterday in The New York Law Journal.
Researching an Article

Professor Huss, who was 54 years old when he vanished, and Professor Allen, 57, were both experienced travelers. They were said to have been on a working vacation, researching an article on Indonesia. They were last seen near the mountain resort village of Brastagi, in northern Sumatra. Sumatra is a thousand-mile-long island northwest of the island of Java, where Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, is situated.

Efforts to have the men declared legally dead began in August 1983 by a nephew of Dr. Allen and joined by relatives of Dr. Huss in 1985. Neither man was married, and both left estates of several hundred thousand dollars, according to court records.

Mr. Cohen said much of the problem in settling the cases involved the reluctance of Indonesian officials to provide information, or even to confirm that the men had been staying in the area.

The case involved more than a year and a half of testimony from witnesses, family members and investigators from Interpol and other police agencies. Mr. Cohen said the investigation eventually centered on the short-cut path that the men took after consulting with villagers.

Dr. Huss, who had been on the Queens College faculty since 1963, started the film studies program in the English department there and was the co-author of a widely used textbook, ''The Film Experience.''

Dr. Allen, an associate professor of English at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, had been on the faculty since 1965. On a fellowship awarded to him by the college in 1981, he studed the writings of Aldous Huxley and traveled to Thailand to spend time in a Buddhist monastery as part of his research.

GRAPHIC: Photo of Dr. Roy Huss (Associated Press)

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