Newspaper Articles

Cowsills intensify search for missing sibling
by James J. Gillis/Daily News staff
September 27, 2005
The Newport Daily News
Newport, Rhode Island

It's been close to a month since anyone has heard from Barry Cowsill, and the Cowsill family is desperately hitting media outlets across the country in the hope someone has seen their brother in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina.

Cowsill, 51, who was living and performing in Newport the past few years, moved to New Orleans this summer, where he previously lived. Susan Cowsill, who also lives in New Orleans, said she received voice mail from her brother on Sept. 2, saying he was inside a warehouse and was afraid, that people were "shootin' and lootin'" in the streets.

Except for a possible sighting in CNN footage shortly after Katrina, the family has heard nothing from Cowsill or anyone who saw him. "We're desperate," Bob Cowsill wrote in an e-mail Monday.

Bob and Susan Cowsill made an appearance Monday night on "Showbiz" on CNN. Brother John Cowsill appeared on a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles on Sunday. Last week, "Entertainment Tonight" ran a piece on Barry Cowsill's disappearance and Howard Stern mentioned it on his nationally syndicated radio show. On Sunday, the family e-mailed a press release to 1,400 media outlets.

Bob Cowsill said the stories have led to rumors of sightings, but nothing substantiated. "We're still just moving on this until something happens," he said.

The Cowsills grew up in Newport and Middletown and emerged as a family pop band in 1967, landing hits in the Top 40 such as "The Rain, the Park and Other Things," "Hair" and "Indian Lake" before disbanding in 1970. Family members later detailed verbal and physical abuse delivered by their father, the late Bud Cowsill, whom they also accused of squandering the group's money.

The Cowsills are credited with being the inspiration for the "Partridge Family" TV show. The group has reunited for several Newport shows in the past decade, usually during festivals at the Newport Yachting Center.

The press release said the Cowsill youngsters were left with little money and few life skills.

The family has endured tough times in recent years. Brother Bill Cowsill, who lives in Vancouver, B.C., has been battling emphysema and osteoporosis and Katrina heavily damaged Susan Cowsill's New Orleans home.

Bob Cowsill said Barry has long battled substance abuse problems and was going to head to California, where Bob lives, to enter a rehab facility. "He's an amazing musician, incredibly intelligent, very articulate, but he's ultimately lost," Bob Cowsill said of his brother.

Anyone with information on Barry Cowsill can send e-mail to

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