Friends of David Bacon have just begun to mourn, 40 years after the Lansingburgh native disappeared without a trace.
Last week, state police arrested a man who they said killed Bacon in April 1969 in Waterford. Nelson Costello, 62, of Prescott, Ariz., is being held without bail in the Saratoga County jail as a grand jury considers whether he should be tried in connection with Bacon’s disappearance and suspected killing when both men were 22 years old. Police have not commented on a motive.
Edward Marks said Bacon was his best childhood friend.
“We knew each other from before we were in kindergarten,” Marks said Wednesday afternoon from his home in Clifton Park. “I grew up on 5th Avenue and he grew up on 1st in Lansingburgh.” They attended school there.
Marks said he, Bacon and two other boys from the neighborhood were inseparable through their high school years.
“Dave was a joker, a real kidder. That’s what made us two close. We were always getting into mischief, nothing big, but we had a good time,” Marks said.
He said he and Bacon quit high school in the early 60s and enlisted in the Navy. While in the service they lost touch.
When they returned, Marks married his high school sweetheart, Noreen, and the couple moved to Clifton Park to start a family.
Noreen Marks said she remembered that when they heard that Bacon had disappeared, there was speculation he had just left the area with no word to anyone.
“We knew he was engaged and he had a job; it didn’t seem like Dave to pick up and leave all that,” she said. “People said he was different when he came back from Vietnam and maybe he just snapped and took off, but it didn’t seem right.”
She said Bacon’s car had been found the morning after he had set off for a night shift at Behr-Manning in Watervliet, a manufacturer now known as Norton Co.
“His car was found on Oil Mill Hill in the ’Burgh,” she said. “His paycheck was on the front seat. That just didn’t seem right to us, but nobody ever said anything about foul play.”
Edward Marks said he and his wife have often thought of Bacon and wondered what happened.
He said when they visited their hometown, they would ask old friends or relatives if they had heard from Bacon.
“I figured he would show up and explain where he’d been. I always wanted more information. I still do,” Marks said. “This week I’ve been thinking about him a lot. Thinking about the old times. He just wasn’t the type to disappear.”
He said he had never heard the name Nelson Costello until he read it in the newspaper and learned Costello had been charged with Bacon’s murder.
“We didn’t go to Waterford,” he said, referring to Costello’s hometown and the alleged scene of the murder. “There was nothing for us in Waterford.”
Costello had been a part-time constable in Waterford at about the same time he is accused of killing Bacon.
State police said they do not believe the killing happened while Costello was on duty.
Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III said police received a tip last summer that alleged Costello was responsible for Bacon’s death and they began their investigation.
Costello had been interviewed by police in his Arizona home in recent weeks and had returned to the Capital Region last week, allegedly to contact potential witnesses in the case against him, Murphy said.
Police arrested Costello in Cohoes and he was arraigned early Friday morning in Clifton Park before being jailed.
Costello was originally scheduled to return to Town Court Wednesday, but the date was postponed until Feb. 11, according to a court clerk. Murphy said a decision by the grand jury on whether to indict probably will be made next week.