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Vanished Harvard Teacher Feared to Have Killed Self

January 30, 1987|United Press International

WINTHROP, Mass. — Harvard University ethics professor and author Lawrence Kohlberg, believed to be depressed over a debilitating physical condition, may have committed suicide by walking into the ocean, police said today.

Kohlberg, 59, an internationally recognized author and professor of human moral development, has been missing since Jan. 17, police said. His Volkswagen was found four days later on Winthrop Street, a dead-end road that leads to the water. Police found Kohlberg's wallet, containing about $100, and his jacket inside the car.

Authorities said the body may be trapped in a marsh under ice or may have been carried out to sea by the tide.

Police linked the Kohlberg disappearance to a missing persons report filed with Harvard University police by Kohlberg's fiancee, Ann Higgins. She has refused to comment on the matter. A family friend said she was "doing all right, but upset."

At Harvard, friends and students in the graduate education program were stunned by the disappearance. The school canceled Kohlberg's spring semester classes.

Colleagues said Kohlberg had complained of weight loss and abdominal pain prior to his disappearance. Some believe his ill health was related to an intestinal parasite he had years ago.

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