What happened to Toby Anderson?

Photo of Toby Eugene Anderson used on missing person flyers in 1986.
(Courtesy photo for the Illinois Valley News)

The family of Toby Eugene Anderson, a 16-year-old boy who disappeared from Selma, Oregon, in November 1986, has been working for the last three years to facilitate the search for his remains. They finally coordinated a search effort that was scheduled to take place this month at a property in Selma, only to be turned away at the last minute by the owner of the property in question.
Anderson, who had been shuffled around between juvenile facilities and family members for the majority of his life, was living with his uncle Almer “Billy” Wright in 1986. Anderson attended Illinois Valley High School from February of that year until November, when his uncle informed the school that Anderson had gone back to California to live with his father.
This information contradicts what Wright told the rest of the family, that Anderson had run away or been killed in an automobile accident. Anderson’s father went to his grave under the impression that his son had simply left his family behind and never looked back.
Anderson’s cousin, Denise McGarity, has reason to doubt this story and many others that have come from “Uncle Billy” over the years.

Anderson’s uncle, Almer “Billy” Wright

McGarity has been spearheading the effort to find her missing cousin since 2017, and along the way she has uncovered many disturbing aspects of her family’s history that had been swept under the rug for years. One of her first findings was the discovery that Wright was convicted of multiple sex crimes against young children in Arkansas in 2001. He is currently incarcerated in an Arkansas state prison for these offenses.
When McGarity reached out to him in an attempt to find out what had happened to Anderson, Wright was unsympathetic to her search efforts and eventually stated that Toby was a “monster” who he had caught molesting his daughters. Wright went on to say that he had taken Anderson to the local police station so that they could deal with him, but no record of this alleged visit to the police exists.

Given Wright’s own history of crimes against children, McGarity believes that Wright is twisting the story, and that he was the monster in question that overpowered and killed Toby. The first logical step to proving this theory would be to search the property that Wright was renting at the time for Toby’s remains. She reached out to the property’s current owners, explained the situation, and after several years of communication was able to formally organize a search involving cadaver dogs and law enforcement officials. Less than 48 hours before the it was scheduled to take place, she received word that the property owners had revoked their consent for a search.
“We waited thirty years to find Toby. Doing six years of research only to get this close and to be let down again is devastating.” McGarity explained when interviewed, adding “We need to search that property, to see if our uncle, who is a convicted child molester, killed him.”
Though the property owners and their alleged legal representation did not respond when asked for a comment, McGarity would like them to know that “This is not anything against the family that owns the property. This is just about us trying to find a missing sixteen-year-old. It’s the principle of a human life. Toby was a human being, and the system let him down time after time. He doesn’t deserve to be let down again.”
Anybody with information about the disappearance of Toby Eugene Anderson is advised to call the Oregon State Police at (800) 442-2068 and reference case number SP19-290842. You can also reach out to Denise personally through her Facebook group, Bringing Toby Home.